Project Pander: The Secret Republican Plan to Split the Democratic Party

Sure, Sanders voters are quickly moving their support to Hillary now that the primaries are over. But plans are afoot—afoot, I say!—to keep Democrats from uniting around Hillary Clinton.


Even if you’ve become convinced that Clinton herself is not as bad as 30 years of bought-and-paid-for television, radio, and print attacks might suggest, Republicans have a scheme to show you that she’s not for you. And it’s not a basement full of psychics hired from 1-900 lines to plant negative Hillary thoughts in your dreams (okay, it’s not just a basement full of psychics). 

It’s …. Project Pander.

In a detailed memo outlining its strategy to combat Clinton’s VP choice, the committee says it will frame the selection as both a cynical play to certain constituencies and as an emotional letdown for voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary.

No matter who Clinton picks for veep, the Project Pander team will use that choice to prove that Clinton has back-stabbed, front-stabbed, ignored, or paid too much attention to some faction of Democrats. 

The goals, the memo says, are to “drive wedges between these top contenders and either Clinton and/or traditional Democrat constituencies, such as labor, environmentalists, and gun control advocates, and other traditional left-wing constituencies;” and “[w]here applicable, frame the choice as an insult to the large, deep base of Bernie Sanders supporters who are struggling with the notion of supporting Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democrat nominee.”

She didn’t pick Bernie? Slap in the face to Bernie supporters! She picked Bernie? It’s because she’s in the pocket of gun manufacturers! Kaine’s a career politician. Wait … do Democrats hate those? We think so! Castro is named Castro! Elizabeth Warren is … Elizabeth Warren is … She’s too good and people like her too much!

A Warren choice, the RNC concedes, would go over well with Sanders supporters. But it would be “an extreme lurch left” that the committee would paint as “intensely liberal and uncompromising.” Interestingly, the RNC hints that it would use the selection of Warren as a means of diminishing Clinton, both by playing up Warren as, in some ways, the more powerful of the two and by portraying Clinton as captive to her base.

What the RNC means is they are both girls. Which doubles the cooties.
How is this plan going over at the DNC?

“We aren’t concerned,” said spokesman Brian Fallon. “While the Democratic party is quickly uniting around Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump actually appears to be losing ground in his bid to consolidate Republicans. More and more members of Trump’s own party are realizing he is temperamentally unfit to be President, and there is no amount of Googling by RNC researchers that can fix that.” 

The larger strategy? If it’s Clinton/Warren, they’re too liberal. If it’s Clinton/Kaine, they’re too liberal. If it’s … you get the idea.

Oh, and Republicans who have been railing against Hillary Clinton’s email? You might want to check your own security. These “top secret” papers are blowing all over the place.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.