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Bernie Sanders’s fans show Hillary Clinton what negative “tone" is really like

Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton's campaign says Bernie Sanders needs to tone it down. But Sanders's supporters have one question: Tone down for what?

A top Clinton aide's chiding comments about Sanders's "negative" tone have prompted Sanders supporters to drudge up all their Clinton attacks on Twitter with the viral hashtag #ToneDownForWhat (a reference to DJ Snake's song "Turn Down for What").

The hashtag formed after Clinton's strategist Joel Benenson said the campaign was weary of participating in a debate because the Sanders campaign told the Washington Post the team was polling which issues would cause the most damage in the New York primary.

"Sen. Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a very negative campaign against us. Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said we going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates," Benenson said on CNN Monday.

On Tuesday, Clinton said she was open to a debate in Brooklyn while on the campaign trail in Wisconsin. But that hasn't stopped Sanders voters from defending their tone.

What are Sanders supporters not toning it down for?

While Sanders's people might be polling different attacks, it seems like his supporters are doing the legwork for his campaign. The hashtag includes critiques of Clinton's stance on issues ranging from Wall Street to her high speaking fee costs and her position on fracking.

Here are some of their posts:

And then there's Rand Paul, who seems to just be trolling the whole thing:

We've seen this grassroots effort from Sanders's people before

Similarly, Sanders supporters engaged Twitter users in another anti-Clinton social campaign with the #HillarySoProgressive hashtag earlier in February when the two candidates engaged in an ideological debate over Clinton's commitment to progressive values.

It might be a testament to Sanders's young voter base that they can swiftly and nimbly turn the two candidates' mini feuds into viral-ready hashtags. The is-she-or-isn't-she-progressive debate played a strong role in the earlier Democratic debates.

Although Clinton is expected to win big in her home state of New York, which has 247 delegates, her camp is keeping an eye on Sanders, who, 230 delegates behind Clinton, is making a real push in New York.

"We’ll be the underdog, but being the underdog in New York is not the worst situation in politics," Tad Devine, Sanders's chief strategist, told the Washington Post. "We’re going to make a real run for it."