Trump’s new aim: Poison a Clinton presidency

“Some of the campaign and allies’ conspiracies are designed to delegitimize her personally. Most are simply designed to spread fear and mistrust. And I am sure if she wins, the right wing will continue to spread these theories,” said Clinton senior adviser Jennifer Palmieri. Palmieri is in favor of ignoring most of the wackiness but warned: “Just because they may have zero basis in truth doesn’t mean they can’t be corrosive. So in this cycle I believe you have to call out the truly destructive theories calmly, but aggressively, and in real time.”…

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“This is a much more concerted and explicit effort than what we saw in ’08,” said Dan Pfeiffer, one of Obama’s top campaign aides and later a senior adviser in the White House. “There are real limits to what Clinton can do, because this is a message that will only be believed by the Republican base and she has little to no capacity to influence them. What she can do is de-legitimize the messenger and try to decouple Trumpism from Republicanism.”

If that works, and Clinton instead couples Trump in most voters’ minds with only craziness, “the attackers will be left with a small group of conspiracy theorists chanting around the campfire in the woods in the middle of nowhere and cheering them on,” said Guy Cecil, the head of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities.

Mo Elleithee, who did tours separately as a top aide to Clinton and Tim Kaine and is now the executive director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, is nervous that the impact will be much deeper and long lasting.

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