Why The Lincoln Project Strikes Terror In Trump

Why The Lincoln Project Strikes Terror In Trump

Screenshot from Lincoln Project ad, "Fellow Traveler"

Dear never-Trump Republicans: Would you adopt me? I'm a centrist with left-leaning tendencies. I get along with cats, dogs and most libertarians. But I'm best off in a political home without small children.

Most of all, I dearly want President Donald Trump gone. You — knowing how he got elected in the first place — are best equipped to defeat him. Democrats seem to have had the good sense to make Joe Biden their candidate. Now you have to get him elected.

One of Trump's bigger nightmares is the growing pack of organized anti-Trump Republican groups. The Lincoln Project is the alpha dog. Its operatives are former Republican strategists who perfected the cultural weaponry deployed against liberals for decades.

They know that the hard left, though only a sliver of the Democratic Party, has thrown the most winnable of elections to the Republicans the left professes to oppose. In his book Running Against the Devil, Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson brags about how campaigns for even highly flawed Republican candidates ran circles around the Democratic opposition.

As for Democrats in 2016, Wilson wrote: "You believed you could shame Trump and Trump voters into listening to the better angels of their nature by talking about diversity, inclusion, and liberal values. In reality, you were giving the Trump campaign fodder for the weaponized grievance machine that put him in office in the first place."

Smartly, the Lincoln Project ignores liberals and goes straight for the underside of Trump's skin. Its video called "Shrinking" that mocks, among other things, the poor attendance at Trump's Tulsa rally, was a masterpiece in that regard.

Another, "#TrumpIsNotWell," taunts Trump as shaky, weak and babbling. "Why isn't the press covering Trump's secretive midnight run to Walter Read Medical Center?" the ad asks, addressing the Trump base with a clever (though inaccurate) hit on the media.

"Mourning in America" portrays a heartland of empty factories, dilapidated homes and broken people. "Under the leadership of Donald Trump, our country is weaker and sicker and poorer," the voiceover says in sorrow. "Americans are asking, 'If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?'"

The Lincoln Project managers were sure to have the ad aired on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program.

In "Betrayed," an angry ex-Navy Seal rails against Trump's nonresponse to reports of Russians paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers. "Any commander in chief with a spine would be stomping the living s—- out of some Russians right now," Dr. Dan Barkuff says. He calls Trump a "coward" and "draft dodger," and in case you haven't figured out the audience he is focused on, Barkuff adds in passing, "I'm a pro-life, gun-owning combat veteran."

Fortunately, the brains behind these videos, Wilson and Lincoln Project colleagues George Conway, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and others, are on my side this time. And they remind the people they used to campaign against that there are patriotic Republicans who still put their country above party.

I dream that these never-Trump Republicans become not a third party but one of the two parties — a replacement for the shabby Trump cult now called the Republican Party. They might even change their name to the Lincoln Party.

The never-Trump Republicans are the true conservatives. If they were to ever gain power through a new party, I imagine there would still be a number of differences between them and me. But in the meantime, I'll fetch their slippers, sit at their feet and pray the activists leave the Washington Monument alone.

You guys may not be my forever home. But if this doesn't lead to adoption, I hope you'll at least foster me until Election Day.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

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