Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Lincoln Project members together as a group for their 60 Minutes interview in October, 2020. (Photo: 60 Minutes/CBS News)

Lincoln Project members together as a group for their 60 Minutes interview in October, 2020. (Photo: 60 Minutes/CBS News)

Lincoln Project 'Epically Failed,' Say Progressives as Trump Wins Bigger Share of Republican Voters Than in 2016

"Turns out there were no 'Biden Republicans.'"

Kenny Stancil

In response to Tuesday night exit polls showing that a greater percentage of self-identified Republicans voted this year to reelect President Donald Trump than supported him in the presidential contest four years ago, progressive commentators characterized the massive spending by anti-Trump conservative groups like the Lincoln Project and the associated attempt by Democratic challenger Joe Biden's campaign to appeal to GOP voters as a misguided and ultimately losing strategy that squandered crucial resources. 

"There may be a lot of so-called 'Never Trump Republicans' promoted in the media and in politics, but 'Never Trump Republicans' are not a statistically significant group of voters anywhere in America."
The Daily Poster

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Lincoln Project raised more than $67 million in 2020 and spent over $59 million on federal elections this year. In the same time period, Republican Voters Against Trump raised nearly $10 million and spent almost $7.5 million. 

The Lincoln Project—described by the Daily Poster's David Sirota, Andrew Perez, and Julia Rock as "the anti-Trump cash cow for veteran Republican consultants"—ran "ads focused on trying to court disaffected Republican voters and attack Trump's character, as Biden loaded up the Democratic convention with GOP speakers."

"When polls during the summer showed that the strategy wasn't working," noted the Daily Poster early Wednesday morning, "galaxy brain Rahm Emanuel defended it to a national televised audience, insisting that 2020 would be 'the year of the Biden Republican.'"

Nonetheless, a comparison of exit polls from Tuesday night and from four years ago shows that the share of Republican voters who supported Trump increased from 90% in 2016 to 93% in 2020. 

Sociologist Alex Vitale pointed out Wednesday morning on social media: "Turns out there were no 'Biden Republicans.'"

"There may be a lot of so-called 'Never Trump Republicans' promoted in the media and in politics, but 'Never Trump Republicans' are not a statistically significant group of voters anywhere in America," reported Sirota, Perez, and Rock.

"They basically do not exist anywhere outside of the Washington Beltway or cable news green rooms," they continued. "And after tonight's results, we shouldn't have to see them on TV or even see their tweets ever again."

Vitale added that "the whole drift to the right strategy was a 100% failure."

In a Wednesday morning tweet, Sirota summarized the consequences of the Lincoln Project's spending spree "to persuade Republicans" to back Biden and the Democratic nominee's decision to fill "up the Dem convention with GOP speakers." As a result, according to Sirota, "Biden lost ground with voters of color and Trump won more Republicans than he did in 2016."

Journalist Jacob Sugarman, however, made the observation that the Lincoln Project, which was never committed to a progressive agenda, may "have gotten exactly what they wanted."

Assuming "Biden prevails [and] the Senate races hold," Sugarman said, "Mitt Romney [may be] the deciding vote on all Democratic legislation."

The Daily Poster concluded with a critique of "the Lincoln Project's focus on trying to scandalize Trump's character," pointing out that "the exit polls found that voters are far more concerned about policy issues than personality."

"Imagine how much of a Democratic voter turnout operation could have been funded in places like Pennsylvania or Georgia with the $67 million that was lit on fire by the Lincoln Project to supposedly court GOP voters," Sirota quipped on social media. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

As Other States Try to Copy Texas, SCOTUS Asked to Find Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

The request from healthcare providers comes after a Florida Republican filed a copycat bill and advocacy groups called on Congress to affirm the right to abortion nationwide.

Jessica Corbett ·


As Bids to Slash Pentagon Budget Fail, US Military Spending Slammed as 'Height of Absurdity'

"Spending $780 billion on weapons and war while our communities starve, while the climate crisis worsens, while a pandemic that has killed millions and affected countless more rages on, is a national shame."

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is Big': House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, "sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade."

Andrea Germanos ·


Praised for 'Braving the Smears,' Tlaib Votes Against $1 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

One rights group thanked Tlaib "for speaking truth to power" while being attacked "for simply insisting that Palestinians are human beings who deserve safety, security, and freedom from Israeli apartheid."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Choice Point for Humanity': Women Demand Visionary Shift at UN Climate Talks

"This is the time to unite together to build the healthy and just future we know is possible for each other and the Earth."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo