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Since founding The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Super PAC, the Republicans behind it wanted you to believe that they were so disgusted by their party’s sycophancy that they had dedicated themselves to dethroning the president, the nominal head of their party. With their viral tweets — which are reportedly just stolen content from meme-makers — and scathing ads that undermine Trump’s administration one Mark Hamill-narrated ad and anti-Ivanka billboard at a time, The Lincoln Project fashioned itself into an unlikely hero in the mission to oust Donald Trump from office.
But after raising $64.7 million, according to Federal Election Commission data — and with no proof those funds did anything to move the election needle — the PAC seems intent to demonstrate that Trumpism is not a flaw in the Republican Party, but its ethos.
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 17: George T. Conway III, husband of White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, attends the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. The White House said 21,000 people are expected to attend the annual tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
In a series of tweets, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged the founders of The Lincoln Project to “do the right thing” and use the substantial funds they accrued during Trump’s presidency to pay for the needs of Black and brown grassroots organizers who actually made it possible for now president-elect Joe Biden to secure the White House. “There’s potential incentive be @ProjectLincoln is def in scam territory w these results. It’s a pretty bad rep even tho GOP has a thing for failing up,” she said. “Come clean, say ‘listen, we thought it’d work, it didn’t, & in good faith we’re gonna raise X mil for these ppl who deserve it.”
According to their own projections, The Lincoln Project garnered at least $67 million in fundraising over the course of the 2020 election. Instead of admitting defeat, though, as AOC suggested they do, the Republicans behind the Super PAC have doubled down. “AOC is mad at us. QANON Republicans are really mad at us. @realDonaldTrump is really, really mad at us. Must be doing something right,” former New Hampshire GOP chairwoman and The Lincoln Project founder Jennifer Horn tweeted.
But Horn’s assertion only goes to show that The Lincoln Project was less about making any substantial dent in outcome of the election than it was about being a vanity project meant to protect the reputation of a few Republicans who don’t want to be attached to the specific nightmare that is the Trump administration.
They certainly didn’t care about actually changing Republican voters’ minds — or, if they did, they weren’t very good at it. Exit polls have shown that 58% of white men and 55% of white women voted for Trump in the 2020 election. A reported 93% of Republicans and 40% of Independents also voted for four more years of Trump — all of whom are The Lincoln Project’s so-called target audience.
Besides, what needs to be remembered about The Lincoln Project is that they never cared about helping Democrats, but only about helping themselves. If The Lincoln Project was really dedicated to getting rid of Trump, they would recognize that the only way to do that is to get rid of the forces that created, enabled, and supported Trump. They can’t do that, though, because they are those very forces.
So while it would be nice to think that they’d throw their money behind the Black and brown grassroots organizers that saved this democracy, and the just take the L and step aside entirely, that’s never going to happen. Instead, they’ll just continue to do what they’ve been doing all along — grifting the American public.
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