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The Lincoln Project and Anti-Trump Republicanism

By Sriya Surapaneni

Castle Pines, Colorado

The largely Republican group aimed to prevent Trump's reelection (Photo Credit: The Guardian)

The Lincoln Project has taken to Twitter and beyond to criticize the Trump administration’s policies and plans over the past four years.

The anti-Trump group, comprised largely of Republicans, was formed in December 2019 with the purpose of “restoring to this nation leadership and governance that respects the rule of law,” according to a New York Times op-ed written by the project’s founders. It aimed to defeat President Donald Trump and all other Republicans running for office in the 2020 election.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Steve Schmidt, one of the founders of The Lincoln Project, said that the project needed to convince conservatives to vote against the Republican ticket in order to overthrow the Trump administration. Believing that Trump is a threat to democracy, a large number of wealthy, conservative Republicans mobilized against him by supporting and donating to the project, according to Reuters

Through the utilization of television ads, billboards and Twitter, The Lincoln Project denounced the Trump administration and its ability to lead the United States. One such ad described Trump as being “shaky,” “weak,” having “trouble speaking” and having “trouble walking,” while showing videos of him at various press briefings, interviews and other encounters with media. 

More recently, The Lincoln Project posted a tweet on October 30 accusing Trump of wanting to “keep as many ballots from being counted as possible.” The project also posted images of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner alongside COVID-19 statistics and body bags on billboards in New York City’s Times Square. The billboards triggered a response from the Trump family; they threatened to sue The Lincoln Project if the advertisements weren’t removed.

The Trump Administration has responded to many other ads and tweets, but according to co-founder Reed Galen, these attacks only brought more attention to the Lincoln Project. After the president disparaged the project by name in May, it raised around two million dollars in 48 hours. The project’s almost instant popularity led it to intentionally design ads to irritate Trump. The founders knew that he would likely watch all of them and his response might affect his campaign.

With a Democratic win in the 2020 presidential election and a Democratic net gain in the Senate, The Lincoln Project has succeeded in fulfilling its purpose. After President-elect Joe Biden’s win was announced on November 7, the project took to Twitter and posted a video celebrating Biden’s victory with the caption “It’s Morning in America.”

The Lincoln Project has no plans beyond the election, according to the project’s communications director Keith Edwards. Trump is now a one-term president, and Biden will take the oath of office in January, so the project feels that there is nothing more for them to do. 


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