Bernie Sanders took negative super PAC ad attacking him and turned it into $800,000 in campaign donations.
The Boston Globe reported:
On June 25 a super PAC linked to former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, another declared Democratic candidate, spent about $10,000 on online ads critical of Sanders’ record on gun control, which is, for a Democrat, notably friendly to gun owners.
Sanders’ team fought back, using the same rhetoric that Warren so effectively employs against her many critics: Frame the attack as an assault on the progressive movement and raise buckets of cash off of it.
The day after the ads began, Sanders’ campaign blasted an e-mail to supporters requesting help. Within 48 hours they’d raised more than $800,000, according to a source familiar with his fund-raising.
What the super PAC supporting Martin O’Malley quickly found out was that attacking Bernie Sanders makes him stronger. Hillary Clinton has the right strategy. Clinton respects Sen. Sanders and his supporters. Her campaign has said only nice things about Sanders. A few of Clinton’s supporters, namely Sen. Claire McCaskill, tried to attack Sanders, but their efforts have gone as well as the O’Malley supporting super PAC ad.
Bernie Sanders is running a grassroots insurgency campaign that by nature will only grow stronger if it is attacked through negative campaigning. The O’Malley campaign made the decision to go negative early because they appear to have been caught off guard by the quick rise of Sanders.
O’Malley has found his campaign turned into an afterthought that has been washed out to sea by the tidal wave of populist support for Bernie Sanders.
For years, a key theme for Sanders has been undoing Citizens United. Attacking Bernie Sanders with a super PAC ad played into his strengths. Any super PAC that tries to take down Sanders should expect their efforts to completely backfire.