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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. 

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