As my colleague Jennifer Van Laar reported, the Lincoln Project has been sucking up a tremendous amount of money, with its claims to be fighting against the evil Orange Man, while claiming to be Republicans and/or conservatives.
Never mind that the reality is that President Donald Trump has actually governed like the conservative that some of those folks involved with the Lincoln Project had previously claimed they wanted.
But as David Harsanyi notes at National Review, one might buy their line except for a few small problems.
If the Lincoln Project was exclusively campaigning against Donald Trump, one might be tempted to believe it wasn’t merely an arm of the Democratic Party. If one of its co-founders, John Weaver, hadn’t been registered as a foreign agent lobbying for a Russia-owned nuclear-energy company against U.S. sanctions not long ago, one might accept that the group believed the conspiracy theories it spreads. If the group wasn’t working against the moderate Republicans senators for the sin of supporting originalist Supreme Court justices, who will transcend the Trump presidency and help preserve the traditional constitutional order, one might believe that its mission was to preserve the system. If you target moderates like Susan Collins and Cory Gardner — politicians who not only parted with Trump on issues but have quite un-Trumpian dispositions — you’re not working against Trumpism, you’re working against the GOP.
My colleague Streiff dealt with the story about John Weaver here.
Harsanyi also points out how their biggest donors are Democrats.
Who is funding the Lincoln Project?
Democratic megadonors have gotten into the game.https://t.co/FiyL2YTctY
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) July 16, 2020
Here’s a breakdown of some of them from Open Secrets:
Billionaire investor Stephen Mandel — a longtime backer of Democratic groups — gave $1 million to The Lincoln Project last month. Bain Capital executive Joshua Bekenstein chipped in $100,000 to the group. He and his wife Anita have given $6.4 million mostly to Democratic causes during the 2020 cycle, making them the 20th most generous donors. The Bekensteins gave big to two other super PACs supporting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Unite the Country and Priorities USA Action.
DreamWorks founder David Geffen — a million-dollar donor to Democratic super PACs in 2018 — also gave $100,000 to the Republican-led group. So did billionaire cable TV pioneer Amos Hostetter, another major Democratic donor. Retail developer Joseph Kaempfer added $75,000 after giving $500,000 to pro-Biden super PAC American Bridge 21st Century earlier this year.
The point Harsanyi is making is the Lincoln Project’s “hook” for getting those bucks is they’re Republicans who are calling Trump out. But if their biggest donors are Democrats, they’re not just against Trump but actually supporting Democrats, and they’re also pushing Democrats on the down ballot even against folks like Susan Collins who’s questioned Trump, a normal person evaluating all those facts would call them Democrats.
If Democrats are funneling in a ton of money to these characters, it’s not because they think that the Lincoln Project is conserving conservatism or protecting the Republican Party. It’s because they think it can help the Democrats and put them back in power. We can see the recent horror show of Democrats in power in light of the pandemic and the radical leftist protests/riots/chaos. That’s what you’re further opening the door to if they get in power, that’s what this is effectively helping.
Thanks to Kemberlee Kaye over at Legal Insurrection for reminding me about this video with the Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson mocking Trump supporters. But yeah, not divisive, conserving, yada yada.
The arrogance, the dismissiveness, the smug cackling, the accents.
If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I’ll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened. pic.twitter.com/8kQ6zN9AZV
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) January 28, 2020