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Bare-Knuckle Politics, 9/24
Are there no rules?
Meet Arabella Advisors, the brainchild of ex-Clinton administration staffer Eric Kessler and the favorite tool of anonymous, billionaire donors on the progressive left. Since 2006, the Arabella hub has overseen a growing network of nonprofits—call them the “spokes”—that collected $2.4 billion in the 2019-20 election cycle, nearly twice as much as the Republican and Democratic national committees combined.
These nonprofits in turn manage and supervise a vast array of “pop-up” groups—mainly political attack-dog websites, ad campaigns, and “spontaneous” demonstrations staffed by Arabella’s network of activist professionals who pose as members of independent activist organizations. These groups—such as Fix Our Senate, the Hub Project, and Floridians for a Fair Shake—typically emerge very suddenly in order to savage the political opposition on the policy or outrage of that particular day or week, then vanish just as quickly. The pop-ups do not file IRS disclosures or report their budgets, boards, or staff. In most cases, their connection to Arabella goes unreported.
People point out that “politics ain’t beanbag.” But does that imply that there should be no restraints whatsoever?
Richard Hanania claims that the people on the left care more than conservatives about politics. If that is true, then we can expect the left to be more ruthless.
I have already remarked on Democratic organizations making contributions in Republican primaries to candidates they really hate in order to knock off more formidable moderate challengers. I consider that indefensible, and friends of mine who are Democrats (but not party officials) agree.
Here are two ways to tell if a political tactic your side is using is really underhanded.
If the other side did it, you would cry foul.
If what you were doing were shouted from the rooftops, so that everyone knew knew who was responsible and understood what you were up to, your tactic would backfire.
It would be nice if we could shame out of existence any organization that engages in such tactics.