GOP shifting gen-elex oppo efforts to Sanders?

posted at 6:01 pm on February 12, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Are conservatives beginning to feel the Bern, too? Indeed they are, but not in the way that progressive populists have in flocking to Bernie Sanders’ banner. Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski reports that a key GOP oppo-research group has begun catching up to Sanders’ track record with a flurry of FOIA requests this week, targeting Sanders’ e-mail and other correspondence:

A Republican opposition research firm is increasing its efforts to dig up dirt on Bernie Sanders after his victory over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

America Rising sent a batch of routine Freedom of Information Act requests this week asking for correspondence between Sanders’ Senate office and federal government departments. The group had also submitted some requests for Sanders last month.

Typically, such requests are sent years before the presidential race due to the lengthy FOIA process. A review of FOIA logs with federal agencies shows America Rising looking into Clinton years before the election due to her status as the presumptive nominee.

America Rising assigned itself a fairly broad mandate in federal elections when launched in early 2013. Their efforts contributed to a big win for Republicans in the 2014 midterms by generating plenty of material for attack advertising and criticism of Democratic candidates. It’s fair to say that since that cycle, AR’s focus has been more on the presidential campaign, and in that almost entirely on Hillary Clinton. A quick look at their YouTube channel shows that while they have occasionally highlighted other Democrats, the vast majority of their work has taken aim at Hillary.

After watching Sanders take Hillary down to a tie in Iowa and thump her in New Hampshire by 22 points, the folks at AR have to at least start performing due diligence. In fact, given the precarious legal situation Hillary faces with an FBI investigation that appears to be broadening rather than winding down, this would be simply good preparation even if she had won both states by wide margins. As it is, though, Hillary’s bid for the nomination has begun to look shaky — and a new poll in Nevada is only making that more apparent. Jon Ralston breaks it down:

The survey, paid for by the conservative Free Beacon, shows a 45-45 tie. It was conducted by TargetPoint of 1,236 potential Nevada caucusgoers from Feb. 8-10, with a margin of error just under 3 percent. That’s a lot of interviews — “867 interviews were completed using automated telephone technology and 369 were conducted using mobile phones,” according to the polling instrument, which I have posted below along with the crosstabs. …

►Clinton loses on trust, 53-29; on who cares about people like you, 49-36; and who is progressive, 49-36. Danger, Will Robinson!

►The sample is almost 60 percent female (about what it as in ’08), which ought to worry Clinton. Sanders leads 63-16 among young voters (18-29), and if there are a lot of youngsters who register on Caucus Day…. She’s also losing among independents, as the Free Beacon reported.

Team Hillary had begun downscaling expectations for the Nevada caucus after Iowa, and now it’s clear why.

There’s another good reason to start focusing more on Bernie Sanders, and it’s not just because Sanders might end up with the nomination. Conservatives need to take on what Glenn Reynolds calls “the siren call of socialism,” and the sooner the better:

And socialism does have a siren call — essentially, the promise that if you vote for socialists, they’ll take stuff away from other people and give it to you. Since many people would rather have free stuff given to them in the name of “fairness” than have to work to get their own stuff, it’s never hard to round up votes with that approach. As the saying goes, a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can count on getting Paul’s vote. …

But there’s some good news, according to Silver: Even though young Americans say they like socialism, they also say that they don’t like redistribution of wealth. Writes Silver: “It’s possible that Sanders will trigger a shift toward more support for economic redistribution in the future, but there hasn’t been one yet.” The percentage of young Americans who support redistributing wealth is almost the same as it was in 1996.

So since you can’t have socialism without redistribution of wealth (with a large part being retained by the redistributors, of course) then what’s this all about? Silver notes that those young Americans supporting Bernie Sanders have a lot in common with the young Americans who support another older figure with heterodox economic views, libertarian Ron Paul: “What’s distinctive about both the Sanders and Ron Paul coalitions is that they consist mostly of people who do not feel fully at home in the two-party system but are not part of historically underprivileged groups.[“] …

So at this point, the enthusiasm for Sanders may be as much a search for something different as it is an endorsement of Sanders’ 1930s-era economic views. Given the failure of the two party establishments, it’s not entirely surprising that young people are looking elsewhere. Their votes are up for grabs, for those who are willing and able to offer something different. For the sake of the country, let’s hope those votes are won by people who are able to offer something different, and constructive, at the same time.

We’re paying the price for decades of poor education, especially on economics and civics. It might be amusing to conservatives to see Hillary Clinton’s ambitions get swallowed up as a consequence, but the danger of this wildfire of historical and economic ignorance is too broad to let go unchecked. If nothing else, the Right has to start answering the fallacies and fantasies that Sanders has spun and start going after him as well as Hillary.


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Trump 45
Sanders 32
Bloomberg 22

AmerigoChattin on February 12, 2016 at 6:03 PM

Why switch from Trump so soon?

can_con on February 12, 2016 at 6:03 PM

I’m surprised it took them this long, really. Hillary has looked shaky for weeks now. I think we are far more likely to see a Sanders nomination, for the same reasons we are likely to see a Trump nomination.

Doomberg on February 12, 2016 at 6:05 PM

Why are they doing Hillary’s work for her? Sanders is easier to beat.

HugoDrax on February 12, 2016 at 6:08 PM

Siren call of socialism fascism?

VorDaj on February 12, 2016 at 6:10 PM

If the commie wins the presidency, how do you claw your way back to capitalism? Countries to the south are already taking all of our businesses and now they just need to be more free market than Bernie’s America and there is no argument for staying. Certainly no patriotic argument for staying.

Bernie would build the same wall as Trump, except the razor wire will be on the north side of it.

Buddahpundit on February 12, 2016 at 6:11 PM

Don’t forget, Hillary is ahead 2 to 1 in S.C. and the big majority of blacks will lemming like vote for her. Sanders mainly does so well among isolated whites.

VorDaj on February 12, 2016 at 6:12 PM

If she can dodge the indictment…

Philly on February 12, 2016 at 6:19 PM

There’s zero chance that’s true.

AYNBLAND on February 12, 2016 at 6:32 PM

I’m on a BLM Facebook page. The Berniebots try to hijack it. Sometimes they go after Killary.

22044 on February 12, 2016 at 6:35 PM

What does one expect?

Our youth, especially over the last 25 years, have been “groomed” to be awarded if they participate. They have also been given “safe places” to go run and hide into, so they don’t have to listen to or consider differing opinions.

Add to that the false expectations that a college degree is the ticket to a life filled with influence, money and social esteem, the worthless degrees in diversity studies, the philosophy of graphic novels and the sex life of Amazon ants, these “children” are no more trained to deal with the real world than a helpless puppy.

At this point, socialism is the natural extension of everything they have been exposed to up to this point.

I have a Sander’s supporter in this house, he’s 24, has dropped out of classes a number of times, is talented but cannot accept that all there is to life at times is hard work, a secure home life and than death.

To highlight his ignorance, I give you an example. He is very much into cars (and a very good mechanic) and he posted a complaint on his Facebook page about some EPA rule that would make certain modified cars illegal on the streets.

And tomorrow night, in Denver, he is going to a Sander’s appearance. I pointed out to him that a president like Sanders would double-down on such EPA rules.

He didn’t even understand the connection until I pointed it out to him. But the siren call of free-stuff, to a person what has been told that he is special and worth something, is stronger than the facts that he is simply lazy and unconcerned with life.

Walter L. Newton on February 12, 2016 at 6:35 PM

To be fair Hillary’s character or lack thereof and scandals are already well known why waste time researching when everyday brings a fresh scandal for free

LeeBelieu on February 12, 2016 at 6:36 PM

I had an interesting conversation with one of the young men at my office who supports Sanders.

He readily admits that Sanders is not a perfect candidate, but argues that we need to “do something different” to break the power of Wall Street over the government.

When I asked how Sanders will pay for what he promises, he says that it’s obvious Sanders won’t be able to do any of that anyway.

I then told him my pick was Cruz, and his response shocked me:

“Oh, well he’s the only other choice.” Basically his opinion was that there are only three candidates that will “do something different” and break the power of the current establishment: Trump, Sanders, and Cruz.

Trump in his view is “crazy, not as crazy as everyone keeps saying, because he says somethings that really need being said, but still a little crazy, and that’s too much for me.”

Cruz is “too religious, puts me off, and a bit to committed to ideology.”

Sanders “has problems, but he’ll break the power of Wall Street, so I’ll put up with him for that.”

So apparently there is a group of voters out there whose picks are Sanders, Trump, or Cruz.

Sackett on February 12, 2016 at 6:37 PM

What’s there to research? Just point to the Soviet Union.

Besides, the one they should be digging up oppo dirt on would be Biden, if Hillary has to drop out somewhere along the line.

whatcat on February 12, 2016 at 6:40 PM

Feb 12, 2016 at 6:37 pm Sackett
Interesting. Makes sense actually a friend at work is a big Cruz supporter likes Trump’s candor and ability to use his megaphone to force a fresh conversation, and though he vehemently disagrees with Sanders respects that he’s honestly Socialist, and gun to his head would back Sanders. So yeah change real change

LeeBelieu on February 12, 2016 at 6:42 PM

For you Burn Peeps:

Live video: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds forum on race and economic opportunity in Minneapolis – NBC News

canopfor on February 12, 2016 at 6:45 PM

What’s there to research? Just point to the Soviet Union.

Besides, the one they should be digging up oppo dirt on would be Biden Warren if Hillary has to drop out somewhere along the line.

whatcat on February 12, 2016 at 6:40 PM

herm2416 on February 12, 2016 at 6:49 PM

the one they should be digging up oppo dirt on would be Biden Warren if Hillary has to drop out somewhere along the line.

whatcat on February 12, 2016 at 6:40 PM

herm2416 on February 12, 2016 at 6:49 PM

You really figure the party would take her over Biden?

whatcat on February 12, 2016 at 7:11 PM

Feb 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm whatcat
Yes she is like Bernie in public Hillary behind closed doors. Hates Wall Street but really loves their lucre

LeeBelieu on February 12, 2016 at 7:14 PM

Walter L. Newton on February 12, 2016 at 6:35 PM

Very accurate post and I concur. The promise of the American dream was interpreted as something we are born into when the fact is it was an opportunity to work hard and reap the benefits of hard work. That lazy mentality and six year degree in archeology didn’t cut it so they entered the world at 24-25 lazy and with no prospects.

The fact is Sanders isn’t the savior but he says what they can relate to from the highlight of their life as a college student.

My generation was a lot more logical where those needing higher education for a specific career path attended and those that didn’t started a career at 17-18. Neither was wrong and neither would even think about being taken care of by the government.

tej on February 12, 2016 at 7:16 PM

You really figure the party would take her over Biden?

whatcat on February

Without a doubt…..remember, last year she had her profile raised almost instantly upon taking her seat. But (!), for some unexplained reason, she has fallen from grace…the profile has disappeared. Maybe a threat from Clinton Machine–at a variety of administration levels, if people chose to back Fauxchahontas instead if the Shrill? I don’t know.

herm2416 on February 12, 2016 at 8:35 PM

The survey, paid for by the conservative Free Beacon, shows a 45-45 tie. It was conducted by TargetPoint of 1,236 potential Nevada caucusgoers from Feb. 8-10, with a margin of error just under 3 percent.

Maybe what happens in Vegas and Vermont stays in Vegas and Vermont?

Still it’s a good idea to dig up dirt on Sanders now, just in case he’s the nominee in August. We wouldn’t want to try to outnumber hordes of spoiled brats voting for Grandpa Giveaway.

Steve Z on February 12, 2016 at 9:27 PM

The guy is 74 so I expect Matt Damon to review Actuary tables soon.

timoric on February 12, 2016 at 10:42 PM

Trump/Cruz/Bush/Rubio/Gilmore/any GOPer 70
Sanders 30

No one will vote to pay 90% in taxes.

nazo311 on February 12, 2016 at 11:14 PM

I feel sorry for Bernie Sanders, and his supporters.

Bernie Sanders, is no Donald Trump, and lacks both the charisma, and the resources to be successful at a hostile takeover of his party.

I mean, all we really need to know is, Sanders won New Hampshire and yet, Hillary got more delegates.

Yup. That should anger his supporters. I’d even stoke that anger, since in the long run, it will help Donald Trump win.

So DNC keep treating Sanders bad. It will backfire in more ways then you can guess.

The DNC this time is all in for Hillary. Sanders has the misfortune of being an old White Guy. I’m sure the irony is lost on him…

Sharr on February 12, 2016 at 11:52 PM

The problem is that kids are reading the Bernie Sanders websites that keep quoting conservative and capitalist think-tanks/groups/organizations supporting Bernie Sanders views.

For example:

The top conservative and capitalists groups/organizations like FORBES, the CATO institute and etc, insist that socialist countries dominate the top of FORBES’ ranking of the finest countries for CAPITALISM, (US is a humiliating #22):

the Cato Institute’s: Human Freedom Index — A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil, and Economic Freedom (again the US is embarrassingly low on the list).

FORBES Legatum Prosperity Index based on scores in eight different categories, Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, Governance, Education, Health, Safety and Security, Personal Freedom, and Social Capital, (The US continues to remain low on the list):

The list of national governments with revenue between 40%-60% of GDP, (The U.S. is only at 17%):

The list of most productive countries work less hours per year than the US because they have shorter hourly work weeks and mandatory full pay vacations, (for an average of 4 weeks), and unlimited full pay sick leave and mandatory full pay maternity leave.

The list of countries with the least % of its citizens bellow the poverty index while the U.S. has fallen down to #32.

The list of countries with the highest marginal income US is at 28th.

The list of countries with the wealthiest middle-class after taxes US is 27th.

The list in the world democracy index having a full democracy while the US is at 21st.

The world income equality index while the United States ranks 97th in income equality.

The Freedom of Press index lists socialist countries at the top while the US remains below several dictators at a humiliating 48th place.

And dominates the top countries in The World Happiness Report 2015 while the US is listed way down bellow:

University of Leicester undertook a study that combined both economics and psychology in order to find out which countries were the happiest in the world. Denmark ranked No. 1, and the United States came in at 23rd

This study was followed by a University of Cambridge study that showed the Danish as the happiest people in Europe.

Another study was conducted by the OECD (Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development) and once again Denmark was named the happiest country in the world.

We must somehow get the Kids to stop reading all the above stuff and/or get get the Bernie Sanders websites to stop quoting conservative and capitalist think-tanks/groups/organizations that say things supporting Bernie Sanders views.

JustTheFacts on February 13, 2016 at 2:00 AM

This isn’t twitter, Ed, you can use more that 144 characters for your headline. I had no idea what this article was about until I clicked

BrianZ on February 13, 2016 at 8:55 AM

Hang on, HANG ON, Oppo Folks.

Let Bernie take out Hillary first. Then expose him.

WTNY on February 13, 2016 at 10:04 AM