The fact that far-right groups are going after Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is the most predictable thing in the world. What's less predictable, however, is how
conservatives are deliberately going after the Democratic frontrunner from the left
. The New York Times
had an interesting report
on this over the weekend:
For months now, [a conservative group called America Rising PAC] has sent out a steady stream of posts on social media attacking Mrs. Clinton, some of them specifically designed to be spotted, and shared, by liberals.... As they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced. America Rising is not the only conservative group attacking Mrs. Clinton from the left. Another is American Crossroads, the group started by Karl Rove, which has been sending out its own digital content, including one ad using a speech Ms. Warren gave at the New Populism Conference in Washington last May.
Obviously, the Crossroads operation does not agree with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) -- about economic populism or anything else -- but Republicans believe they can use unsuspecting liberals to advance the right's broader goals.
Groups like America Rising and American Crossroads believe, with good reason, that Hillary Clinton has plenty of critics and skeptics among liberal activists. For the right, the goal at this stage of the race is to exploit those divisions, drive a wedge into the progressive cause, and prevent the left from coalescing around the likely Democratic nominee.
To be sure, in most instances, no matter how hostile liberal constituencies may be towards Clinton, these same activists are far more opposed to right-wing organizations, and the left has no interest in being used as pawns by conservative groups.
But therein lies the rub:
America Rising and American Crossroads are careful to leave their names out of it. The goal is to produce anti-Clinton content some liberals might like, while removing far-right fingerprints. Progressive activists and groups might balk at disseminating Republicans' anti-Clinton messages, so the key is to get the left to do this unknowingly.
As the Times' report added, it's led to "some awkward moments."
The A.F.L.-C.I.O. sent to its more than 60,000 followers an America Rising tweet praising its president, Richard L. Trumka, for a speech that was seen as challenging Mrs. Clinton on economic issues, only to take it down a few hours later, saying it was a mistake. Laura Hart Cole of Verbank, N.Y., whose father, Philip A. Hart, was a senator from Michigan and a liberal icon, was shocked to learn that she had ... shared the meme from America Rising on Twitter.
Right. That's the point. Far-right groups are attacking Clinton from the left, effectively hoping to trick liberals into giving conservatives a hand.
And sometimes it works.