America Rising Featured in The New York Times: The Right Baits the Left to Turn Against Hillary Clinton

Here at America Rising, we are creative techniques to make life difficult for Clinton, and people are taking notice. This week, the front page of The New York Times featured how we’re making Democrats lose trust in Hillary Clinton.

This article was excerpted from The New York Times. Click here to read the full article online.

Twitter post recently caught the eye of Bill McKibben, the environmental advocate and godfather of the Keystone XL pipeline protests. It included an image from “The Simpsons” showing Homer and his family basking in mountains of cash in their living room, followed by a report on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s appearing at a fund-raiser with a lobbyist from the Keystone fight.

Mr. McKibben’s environmental organization,, has been trying to raise awareness about the ties it sees between lobbyists for the oil pipeline and former aides to Mrs. Clinton. He promptly shared the post with his 150,000 Twitter followers, and the reaction was immediate.

It was not another environmental organization or even a liberal challenger to Mrs. Clinton. Instead, it was a conservative group called America Rising PAC, which is trying, with laserlike focus, to weaken the woman who almost everyone believes will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for president in 2016.

For months now, America Rising 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. The posts highlight critiques of her connections to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation and feature images of Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, interspersed with cartoon characters and pictures of Kevin Spacey, who plays the villain in “House of Cards.” And as they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced.


Conservative strategists and operatives say they are simply filling a vacuum on the far left, as well as applying the lesson they learned in 2012, when they watched in frustration as Mitt Romney was forced to expend time and resources in a protracted primary fight. By the time he secured his party’s nomination, President Obama hardly had to make the case that his opponent was a coldhearted plutocrat; Republicans like Newt Gingrich had already made the argument for him in the primaries.

Few Republicans are more familiar with that nightmare than Matt Rhoades, who was Mr. Romney’s campaign manager. He founded America Rising in response to a recommendation contained in an autopsy of Romney’s failed presidential run that was ordered by the Republican National Committee. The group’s original goal was to compete with American Bridge, the Democratic opposition research group, but its focus under Mr. Rhoades has been to subject Mrs. Clinton to an ordeal similar to Mr. Romney’s.

“The idea is to make her life difficult in the primary and challenge her from the left,” said Colin Reed, America Rising’s executive director. “We don’t want her to enter the general election not having been pushed from the left, so if we have opportunities — creative ways, especially online — to push her from the left, we’ll do it just to show those folks who she needs to turn out that she’s not in line with them.”

This year, Zac Moffatt, a co-founder of Targeted Victory, a right-leaning political technology firm, who handled Mr. Romney’s digital operation and has worked with groups like America Rising and American Crossroads, laid out the strategy in a memo to several clients. “There was a hole to fill in the market,” he said, and if Democrats were not willing to challenge Mrs. Clinton, Republicans could do it themselves.

For example, as Mrs. Clinton was traveling through Las Vegas this month on a campaign swing, “liberal Democrats” (as identified by Targeted Victory’s voter file) in the Las Vegas area saw a video pop into their Facebook news feeds, highlighting recent news reports about foreign government donations to the Clinton Foundation. The video was shared by America Rising and received over 6,300 views, most from people who would never follow a group like America Rising on social media.

This article was excerpted from The New York Times. Click here to read the full article online. 

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