Combat Ready: Michelle Malkin Gears Up for 2014 GOP WarfarePosted: February 9, 2014
Mackenzie Weinger writes: Michelle Malkin doesn’t run away from fights, she runs toward them. And she’s running faster than ever headlong into the 2014 Republican primary battles on behalf of upstart conservative candidates who are mounting insurgent challenges to the GOP old guard.
Twitter is Malkin’s weapon of choice. Battles with her almost always devolve into wars, and those who follow the conservative social media scene know she has a proven formula online: Taunting quips from foes bring out the full force of her Twitter arsenal, with snappy replies, catchy hashtags and the mobilization of a legion of energized followers.
Malkin, 43, says she’s using her influence — and her confrontational approach — on behalf of candidates she deems worthy of it in this year’s midterm.
“I see the practically unlimited power that social media has to help push the issues and causes and people I care about,” Malkin told POLITICO in a recent interview. “I know what I’m good at.”
She’s focusing on backing politicians challenging establishment Republicans — for instance, she’s thrown her support behind Katrina Pierson, who is campaigning to unseat longtime incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions in Texas.
“Her race is just one of many that I have my eye on where this is the narrative, where you’ve got these tea party candidates challenging old incumbents,” Malkin said. “And you’re going to have [Karl] Rove throwing all of his money and American Crossroads throwing all of that money, plus the Chamber of Commerce, plus these ‘Main Street Republican’ partnership types who are funded by who? Big labor. And the tea party candidates, I think, are going to follow in the path of Ted Cruz and somehow be able to triumph over all of that money.”
Malkin added, “This to me is much more fascinating than the usual left-right battles, because this is a battle between fresh, young conservative blood and old, entrenched incumbent establishment.”
But her critics say that outside of the conservative media world, Malkin’s particular brand of outrage just doesn’t have the same impact as it once did. They say her style is to drum up fake controversies and outrage to promote her own brand, and experts question whether she has the clout to impact high-profile races, arguing that her influence might be felt more in less visible contests.
A Twitter member since 2008, with more than 660,000 followers, Malkin thrives in what she dubs a “battle space.”
Ask Donald Trump. After the real estate mogul blasted her on Twitter last year as a “dummy,” Malkin swung back by creating and promoting the hashtag “#donaldtrumpisaphony.” Ask some of her other sparring partners, like Alec Baldwin, who called her a “crypto fascist hater,” or rapper The Game, who called her “racist.” Malkin retweeted some of the most vitriolic messages his followers sent her way to her own passionate online circle — filling Twitter feeds with ghastly insults and slurs right from the keyboards of her opponents’ supporters.
In 2014, she’s also looking to use her clout with her band of followers as she throws support behind like-minded conservative candidates fighting in competitive races. “I’m much more interested in lower-level politics,” she said.
Malkin saw the decision to sell the Twitter curator Twitchy to Salem Communications late last year as making a good business move for the site, but also a way to get the media venture into a better position to influence the 2014 and 2016 elections…
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