It’s not much of a stretch to say that honest Abe would be outraged at the lies, bombast and buffoonery coming from our current president. Even more outrageous are the Republicans that either support or remain silent at his behavior.
There are, however, many more Republicans who believe Trump to be such an existential threat to democracy that they’ve decided to take political action.
Founded by Steve Schmidt and seven other conservatives – all of whom have actively supported or worked on previous Republican campaigns – The Lincoln Project’s purpose was succinctly summarized in the opening paragraph of an Op-Ed that appeared in The New York Times last year.
“Patriotism and the survival of our nation in the face of the crimes, corruption, and corrosive nature of Donald Trump are a higher calling than mere politics. As Americans, we must stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character.”
Schmidt told The Times that all the anti-Trump Republican groups are “disaggregated, they’re all organic, and they’re all conviction-based and necessary to show defiance and opposition to a president and political class that’s completely enabled him.”
I became interested in the group after watching a segment on the CBS News program, 60 Minutes, last Sunday.
“We all had a conviction,” Schmidt told journalist Leslie Stahl “that there are millions of Republicans who look at this debacle and reject it. And what we thought we could do is talk to those voters in the language and the iconography that they understand, connect with them, and persuade them, many of them, to vote for the Democratic nominee for the first time in their lives. …
“They call themselves a pirate ship, with Reed Galen helping chart their course,” Stahl says.
Galen is a former Republican strategist, columnist and press secretary to Vice President Dan Quayle.
“We do not represent any candidate,” Galen says. “We don’t represent any campaign. We don’t represent any political party. So, it allows us a great deal of freedom.”
“Who are you aiming for?” Stahl asks. “What kind of a voter?
“So those independent-leaning men,” media strategist and co-founder Rick Wilson says, “those college-educated Republicans, the suburban Republican women. We understand where these voters are, we understand who they are and how they think. And Lesley, it’s a game of small numbers. I mean, Donald Trump won this election by 77,000 votes in three states.
“Last month, Greg Schott, a lifelong Republican disgusted by President Trump, decided it was time to speak out in a meaningful way,” The Times says.
“Mr. Schott, who sold his business software company to Salesforce in 2018 for a reported $6.5 billion, decided to spend $1 million of his own money to start a new group, Reclaim Our Party, a super PAC targeting right-leaning independents and soft Republicans and telling them it was OK to vote against Mr. Trump.”
Other groups have picked up the message and created their own groups.
“…there’s the Bravery Project, led by Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman from Illinois; Stand Up Republic, which recently introduced a spinoff, Christians Against Trumpism & Political Extremism; the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, known as Repair and led by two former top Trump administration officials; and 43 Alumni for Joe Biden, which consists of alumni from President George W. Bush’s administration.”
However, The Lincoln Project is perhaps the largest with the most recognizable Republican behind-the-scenes guys out there.
“You basically have endorsed Joe Biden,” Stahl tells Reed Galen.
“We have. We have endorsed Joe Biden. Yes.”
“It feels like…” Stahl says before stating the obvious, “a total betrayal… to other Republicans?”
“Republicans can call us… betrayers of the faith all they want,” Galen says. “We sleep well at night.”
How would Abe weigh-in on all this? It bears repeating:
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Let’s hope that proves to be true on November 3rd.