Republicans against Trump
July 14, 2020 5:11 AM   Subscribe

 
ultimately they're going to have to tackle the "But What About Abortion" question, which is going to be difficult for Republicans to do

They made a solid chunk of single-issue voters who are not exactly relying on a sober analysis of the situation, and now somehow they're going to have to convince them to stop being single-issue voters for six months and then start being single-issue voters again.
posted by Merus at 5:45 AM on July 14


Eh. While on the one hand as fairly high ranking Republicans they were unquestionably partially responsibly for theenvironment that produced Trump, and on the other hand they're looking to try and salvage/rehabilitate the Republican brand so they can keep promoting awful policy, they're still spending Republican money to attack a Republican.

I'd rather they be focusing their money and attention on a Party civil war then on defeating Democrats. I'll never imagine they're allies, or even temporary people fighting alongside me.

The enemy of my enemy is the enemy of my enemy. Nothing more, nothing less.

As soon as Trump is gone they'll go right back to attacking us but in the meantime if they can hurt Trump I say let them do it on their own dime and on their own time.

I won't lift a finger to help them, and I'd strongly urge that no liberal or leftist give them money because our money is better spent advancing our own causes. But I'll make some popcorn and watch and cheer while my enemy divides itself and squanders its resources in so doing.
posted by sotonohito at 5:51 AM on July 14 [123 favorites]


Maybe all they will accomplish is rallying Democrats to get out and vote by creating the vision that winning is possible. I’d take that.
posted by double bubble at 5:58 AM on July 14 [23 favorites]


At a minimum, they're making the Trump campaign piss away funds on ads in the DC market. Every dollar diverted from swing states is a help.
posted by cmfletcher at 6:00 AM on July 14 [58 favorites]


Tactically, I will take it.

Strategically, well....the Dems aren't exactly in disarray but maybe we should stick to the next 100 days before we lift our eyes to the horizon. Win back the white house & senate and then think in terms of decades.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:00 AM on July 14 [17 favorites]


The group also includes William Kristol, a conservative commentator;

'learn their names, and never trust them again'? From the neo conservative who blew up Iraq? Who has campaigned against Americans getting health care since forever?

Like they won't kiss the ring of Tucker Carlson 2024, please.
posted by eustatic at 6:07 AM on July 14 [41 favorites]


Even David Frum has of late found himself with no more convenient option than writing true things. Strange times.
posted by flabdablet at 6:09 AM on July 14 [14 favorites]


I don't care about the militarist angle. Half the country is militarist. Shops in the Orlando airport have little kiosks that encourage you to spend money on care packages for our troops. Like, you give this organization money, and they buy essentials like personal care products, food, socks and tampons. Like, isn't this the reason we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on our military?

Yet half the country laps this up. Half the country wraps itself in a flag and threatens to beat the crap out of you if you don't genuflect in front of the military because the greatest, most powerful country ON EARTH can't seem to pay for socks and tampons for it's soldiers.

If the Lincoln Project is militarist, that's because the only language that a portion of the country will understand is the language of unquestioning, organized murder on an industrial scale. If they get Mitch McConnell AND Trump out of office, it's a win.
posted by fnerg at 6:11 AM on July 14 [57 favorites]


This is just Republicans being "concerned" writ large.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:11 AM on July 14 [5 favorites]


ultimately they're going to have to tackle the "But What About Abortion" question, which is going to be difficult for Republicans to do

This poll found that 9 percent of the electorate say they would never vote for a pro-choice candidate and 7 percent would never vote for a pro-life candidate. Biden can easily win without any of those 9 percent.

even though no-one actually cares about baby holocaust

When people say that they care about something I generally believe them, even when I disagree with them. Why don't you? (You can justifiably criticize specific people who don't support policies to help children after they are born, but that is a subset of people who oppose abortion, and it does not change the fact that they oppose abortion.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:14 AM on July 14 [13 favorites]


I don't expect the ads alone to change anything. But I think it's useful to have this voice in the mix because even if I find many of their views disagreeable at best (and abhorrent at worst), it's seemed like this has been the year that many prominent conservative voices broke with Trump and I think the ads are part of a pattern of conservatives giving each other permission to disavow Trump.

No sense in getting upset that lifelong conservative voters and people who made their living off espousing conservatism aren't suddenly totally sold on the Democratic platform, especially when it's the most progressive it's ever been. But I'm happy they're able to recognize that they might still be closer to the Democratic platform than to Trumpism.
posted by LSK at 6:16 AM on July 14 [24 favorites]


https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/05/lincoln-project-capitalizes-on-trump-rage/

I think an important component is how much money this is making right wingers. Some republicans sell vitamins, others milk Citizens United, it s all wingnut welfare.


The Lincoln Project was looking for, as it reportedly raised $1 million shortly after Trump slammed the group on Tuesday. The Republican super PAC has amassed a substantial war chest, but it has come under scrutiny for funneling money to its advisory board members and spending relatively little airing political ads to influence voters. The group also hides some of its vendors by stealthily paying subcontractors, making it difficult to follow the money.

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/05/lincoln-project-capitalizes-on-trump-rage/

This is a project that will, on a dime, turn its classy operations against the welfare of the American people once the election ends.
posted by eustatic at 6:20 AM on July 14 [18 favorites]


I think the reasoning is that the people who say they oppose abortion really only want to control women's sexual and life choices. They may even truly believe that it's abortion they're opposed to, but when you look at their leaders and what could be done to make abortion numbers go down and how they feel about birth control and education, it's clear that abortion is not the single issue it's made out to be.
posted by rikschell at 6:20 AM on July 14 [16 favorites]


[Please drop the abortion derail now, thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:22 AM on July 14 [14 favorites]


I think an important component is how much money this is making right wingers. Some republicans sell vitamins, others milk Citizens United, it s all wingnut welfare.

Yet another area where the left is inept.


This is a project that will, on a dime, turn its classy operations against the welfare of the American people once the election ends


I'll worry about that after the election. Priorities, people!
posted by 2N2222 at 6:27 AM on July 14 [10 favorites]


I'm frankly surprised it took so long for these assholes to figure out how to monetize Trump without getting orange shit on their suits.

When you're a for-profit cultural warrior, everything divisive makes you money eventually.
posted by a complicated history at 6:30 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Yet another area where the left is inept

Are you then, opposed to overturning Citizen's United? Opposed to building a movement to have public funding for public office? Opposed to ending this kind of corruption?
posted by eustatic at 6:38 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I'll gladly accept their help for this cycle knowing the they'll turn on a dime after November. Trump is an existential threat to the nation and the world and I can't think of anything more important than getting rid of him but I'll gladly go back to hating these assholes on November 4th.
posted by octothorpe at 6:42 AM on July 14 [26 favorites]


I was crafting a FPP about the RVAT Stories earlier today, and got busy doing something else, so here...
posted by growabrain at 6:47 AM on July 14


I'd like to see some data on the efficacy of LP and RVAT ads.

I was struck by RVAT's new one, Jeffrey voted for Trump, but now he has some choice words for him...
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:50 AM on July 14 [7 favorites]


Also, I find the Lincoln ads much more satisfying, direct and biting than any other current anti-rump ones
posted by growabrain at 6:56 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


"I'll gladly go back to hating these assholes on November 4th."

What if they act in ways that aren't something you hate about? Part of the problem arguably is the tremendous polarization that has come out of decades of the right trying to kill off the left as a political entity. What if these guys stop? This landscape has been nothing but hate for my entire life. JFK was killed when I was in grade school, along with his brother, and MLK. I have managed to survive the reign of Reagan, the Bushes, Bill Clinton, and now (so far anyway) this thing. It has to end. Voting was not effective last time. Even voting him out alone will not be effective because the people that supported him and enabled him will still be in office.

I have been watching this thing develop over the past few years, ever since Trump got into office. I believe it is possible for people to change. There is a lot of change already going on right now. People don't necessarily change at first for the right reasons but it happens anyhow. I don't see these people as a threat, and I am not some babe in the woods about politics. Neither am I in any way attracted to the right (ewwwww). In fact I generally describe myself as somewhere to the left of Woody Guthrie on the political spectrum.

Political change isn't going to be pretty. Ask anyone who has been on the streets in PDX or Seattle through all this. It is chaotic, confusing, and the damnedest things happen. Nor is it predictable except through a rear view mirror.

What I see here is something that works for the first time in my life to overcome literally decades of right wing dominance. Damn right I gave them 20 bucks.
posted by cybrcamper at 7:00 AM on July 14 [18 favorites]


the frame through which we must assess the lincoln project ads is that of psychological warfare. they are effective ads if they demoralize the enemy — and i am using this word very deliberately, because the trump cult is fascist and fascists are the enemy — and if they disorganize and undermine the enemy's plans. if they make the enemy more paranoid, more prone to infighting, if they force the enemy into a reactive stance.

it is straight up irrelevant to assess them as something meant to persuade. the best of their ads aren't in any way arguments in a rational liberal debate. they are bullets in a gun. the people upthread who are pointing out how the lincoln project ads have eaten up the chief trumpist's brainspace and provoked the enemy into wasting money pointlessly are right on. that's what they're for. it doesn't matter if they don't change anyone's mind about any political issue, so long as they further scramble the brains of one person and his supporters.

far and away the best of their ads is whispers, which crawls straight into the idiot's brain through his optic nerve and through his little earholes. it is tightly targeted at the audience of one. it genuinely doesn't matter who else sees this ad, so long as donald j. trump, the president of the united states of america, gets it lodged in his head.

probably my favorite thing about that ad — and i've got many favorite things about that ad — is how so much of it focuses on brad parscale. this isn't a guy who's in the public eye, all that much. most people i've showed it to, including people who are following the political disaster closely, do not recognize him. but it doesn't matter that anyone in the general population recognizes him, because donald trump sure does recognize him. like, the ad is designed to turn him against everyone in his administration, but it is particularly concerned with making sure that trump learns to distrust his own campaign manager.

regardless of whether the lincoln project goons are decent people — they're not — liberals need to learn from their illiberal tactics and copy their illiberal tactics.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:12 AM on July 14 [91 favorites]


I grew up in the '60s, and for my entire adult life, I've watched the Republican Party cause increasing damage to this country. Any residue of good will or benefit of the doubt I might have had for them has long since been wiped out by their bad-faith machinations. I'm not impressed by the rat-fuckers turning on the outsider who took over their machine. Even if they damage him and cost him the election, I will never forgive them the damage they've done the rest of us. Screw them and each of them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:14 AM on July 14 [22 favorites]


That New Republic article on the Lincoln Project is, I think, missing the point somewhat.

Quote: "when the president went on a Twitter rant about the PAC’s “Mourning in America” ad, the group declared victory. To a large extent, the Lincoln Project’s raison d’être is simply to annoy Trump and his closest allies. Public spats bring it attention and money and might possibly aid in its ultimate mission, removing Trump from office."

Having paid some attention to the Lincoln Project and its braintrust via the Twitter machine over the last few months, the above quote would be more applicable if you reversed the order of the sentences. To wit, I suspect their goal is often not so much directly convincing potential voters and current/former Republicans that they need to vote against Trump or his enablers - their goal is to poke Trump in his soft spots, which gets him worked up, which makes him Tweet or say more insane nonsense, and that's what will convince voters that Trump & his allies have to go.

Yeah, it's a version of "Surely this" which we have been mocking here for years, but I don't think they're looking for some kind of mass conversion, they're waging a longer-term war of attrition - if every batshit Trump tweet or public statement convinces 20 (or whatever, a number that I just pulled out of my ass) lean-Repulbican or simply disinterested voters that they need to at least consider voting against Trump this year, then that's a good thing - because remember, he won by a small handful of votes in a few states, thanks to the electoral college. Knock off a few of his voters or gain a few Biden voters in a few states and/or demographics, and he loses.

IOW, yeah the point is to annoy Trump and his allies, which they react to, and it's their reactions that convince the voters, not the TLP ads directly.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:16 AM on July 14 [29 favorites]


if you're under an attack in a warzone and someone gives you the keys to a fully functional panzer tank, it's probably not the right time to complain about the political views of the people who built it.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:17 AM on July 14 [38 favorites]


“I'll worry about that after the election. Priorities, people!“

I was under the impression that you were on the right, at least economically. Is that inaccurate?
posted by Selena777 at 7:25 AM on July 14


What if they act in ways that aren't something you hate about?

I would suspect they have an incurable fatal disease and are trying to get on the good side before they get to the enamel encrusted grit gates because that is the only time I have ever seen genuine conversions of republican political activists.
posted by srboisvert at 7:25 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


These are the people I have always hated, and knowing they hate Trump makes me think he might not be so bad.
posted by 445supermag at 7:25 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I believe in redemption. Is this a way to make amends? Maybe. Is TLP useful? Yes. Peeling away a portion of those who have voted for and supported trump is super important. His margins are razor thin. I have read that trump's campaign has had to put 13% of their social media buy into Texas. Texas! For the GOP to have to spend a dime in Texas is incredible. These dollars cannot be used elsewhere. To me, that is the impact of TLP: forcing trump to fight where he normally wouldn't. Forcing down-ballot candidates to address their support of trump is the ancillary impact.
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:27 AM on July 14 [17 favorites]


> These are the people I have always hated, and knowing they hate Trump makes me think he might not be so bad.

oh, no, they're awful. they're monsters. they're slenderman. don't trust them, don't like them... but don't interrupt them while they're eating donald trump's flesh raw.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:28 AM on July 14 [58 favorites]


What if they act in ways that aren't something you hate about? Part of the problem arguably is the tremendous polarization that has come out of decades of the right trying to kill off the left as a political entity. What if these guys stop?

This is not Star Wars, one good deed doesn't redeem them from a lifetime of being terrible people. In 2002, Rick Wilson made ads that questioned the patriotism of Max Cleland, a multiple amputee from his service in Vietnam. The other folks involved in the projects are a rogues gallery of Republican rat-fuckers who have been plaguing us for decades.
posted by octothorpe at 7:29 AM on July 14 [22 favorites]


My attitude towards the Lincoln Project is summed up by the old phrase, "Let's you and him fight."
posted by vibrotronica at 7:39 AM on July 14 [44 favorites]


(note: i know tanks don't have keys. it's a metaphor, people, a metaphor.)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:40 AM on July 14 [14 favorites]


The claim that the ads could win over Republicans seems, at best, speculative. The main way they are distributed is via Twitter (where they are retweeted by the already convinced) and in very small TV markets picked to maximize the chance of Trump’s seeing them.

This misses a very larger marketing vector: YouTube.
posted by doctornemo at 8:03 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


God I’ve been fighting about this on Twitter the last week. I don’t know how we’re 34 comments in and the word “values” hasn’t been said once. Liberals and conservatives, leftists and righties, fascists and socialists, all these labels are first approximations of the difference in value systems.

The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump both can speak to Trump’s base more effectively that a Democrat ever could. People claim that TLP is militarist? NO SHIT. They’re speaking to a base that claims to value things like honor, military tradition and imperialism. You don’t walk into a meeting with them and start talking about fucking pacifism! You’ll get run out of town on a rail.

Can a Democrat do this? Think Dukakis in that god forsaken tank. No a Democrat can’t do this. They don’t care that someone is a draft dodger. Someone who values service to their (imperialist) country on the other hand? Yeah it might disgust them enough to attenuate them from Trump’s voting base.

Are they our friends? No. They’re the enemy of our enemy! That doesn’t mean we can’t enter into a temporary alliance to defeat a greater evil. In WWII the USA and USSR were allies, we can put up with a bunch of conservatives laying body blows on their own base for a campaign season.

They know what they’re doing. They’ve used the same shit on us in many elections before and they win. We’re fighting a game of inches in battleground states. Why try to stop someone from helping you gain a 1/16”? Because we need a clean win? Because we don’t want a conservative to think they’re owed something? It all comes down to god damned ego. Let Republicans who hate Trump funnel their money into something they feel can do good against the orange menace and once the election’s over we can set our sights onto destroying Trumpism once and for all.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:04 AM on July 14 [56 favorites]


in very small TV markets picked to maximize the chance of Trump’s seeing them.

Yes, as I mentioned above, this is very much intentional.

They are, to some extent, playing for an audience of one, on purpose.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:07 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't trust them any further than I could throw them, but they're running ads that are much better and more vicious than anything the Democrats have managed so far, so I say let them play and be ready for the heel turn.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:11 AM on July 14 [20 favorites]


like, this is what the democrats won when they selected biden instead of warren or sanders. psyops support from these nasty motherfuckers is the advantage of choosing a conservative. don't complain about your own strengths.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:18 AM on July 14 [26 favorites]


To me it seems that the Lincoln Project's goal is to try and reduce the impact of people who voted for Trump in 2016 but who switched to Biden in 2020 voting Democrat on down ballot races. They're signalling to right leaning voters that they're not ALL bad, so put your cross next to Biden but maybe keep voting for Peter King.
posted by PenDevil at 8:20 AM on July 14 [11 favorites]


They’re the enemy of our enemy! That doesn’t mean we can’t enter into a temporary alliance to defeat a greater evil.

Trump is not a greater evil. He's the same evil, but less competent.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:21 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


As soon as Trump is gone they'll go right back to attacking us but in the meantime if they can hurt Trump I say let them do it on their own dime and on their own time.

As soon as Trump is gone, these people will be popping up the Biden administration. Just watch.
posted by atrazine at 8:25 AM on July 14 [6 favorites]


In WWII the USA and USSR were allies, we can put up with a bunch of conservatives laying body blows on their own base for a campaign season.

As Churchill said: “If Hitler invaded Hell I should make at least a friendly reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 8:27 AM on July 14 [39 favorites]


To me it seems that the Lincoln Project's goal is to try and reduce the impact of people who voted for Trump in 2016 but who switched to Biden in 2020 voting Democrat on down ballot races. They're signalling to right leaning voters that they're not ALL bad, so put your cross next to Biden but maybe keep voting for Peter King.

On Twitter almost all of the pact have basically said the Republican party needs to be tossed out into the wilderness for a generation and they will be voting Democratic down the ballot at least for the next few cycles. Trumpism is just too far gone in the GOP to be salvageable. It needs to lose power absolutely and completely or be forced to remain a regional rump party for the foreseeable future.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:40 AM on July 14 [14 favorites]


To me it seems that the Lincoln Project's goal is to try and reduce the impact of people who voted for Trump in 2016 but who switched to Biden in 2020 voting Democrat on down ballot races. They're signalling to right leaning voters that they're not ALL bad, so put your cross next to Biden but maybe keep voting for Peter King.

This TLP ad is highly relevant to this conversation. For a few reasons...

1) It shows they’re targeting Trumpist Republicans and not just Trump.

2) It’s an example of the no holds barred style that people have referenced in thread and that, in my opinion, is a large reason TLP’s ads seem to have appeal/momentum/impact. Like, that style, plus the tone of clear moral condemnation plus TLP’s insider knowledge of how to communicate effectively with right-leaning voters and wavering Republicans—all that is the firepower of the tank.

3) I find it fascinating how the rhetoric of the ad — remember how these Republican powerbrokers were complicit in evil and never trust them again — mirrors the rhetoric in this thread about TLP people themselves.
posted by overglow at 8:49 AM on July 14 [35 favorites]


> As soon as Trump is gone, these people will be popping up the Biden administration. Just watch.

and as soon as trump is gone we have to do everything in our power to undermine and destroy the biden administration. but we have to take it one administration at a time. i mean, unless you've got a plan to dismantle the federal government of the united states before november.

and like if you do, i'm all ears — but i'm pretty sure you don't.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:55 AM on July 14 [10 favorites]


3) I find it fascinating how the rhetoric of the ad — remember how these Republican powerbrokers were complicit in evil and never trust them again — mirrors the rhetoric in this thread about TLP people themselves.

"We were evil within the normal parameters of evil. We just wanted low taxes. We didn't want this christofascist kids in cages shit."
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:56 AM on July 14 [16 favorites]


I would suspect they have an incurable fatal disease and are trying to get on the good side before they get to the enamel encrusted grit gates because that is the only time I have ever seen genuine conversions of republican political activists.

Atwood for instance. He said the quiet parts very loudly right before he passed on.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:57 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


I'm fine with the Lincoln Project spending all the money they want attacking Trump as long as the rest of us remember the enemy of our enemy is not our friend.

This is a pack of unrepentant assholes. They hate Trump yet have otherwise learned nothing. Let 'em make their ads and whatnot, but never let our guard down.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:21 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


the lincoln project is catnip for civility fetishists, "both sides" centrists, and other brain poisoned individuals

That's the point though. Liberal Republicans just want their absence of tension back and appealing to civility politics is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's not like these people are going to have some collective CTJ moment. They just want their status quo back and TLP are more than happy to point out that Biden seems to be the best way to get it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:26 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


It is so! frustrating! that the most effective not-talking-to-our-base propaganda for voting for Democrats comes from a Republican media group. The whole reason these bozos are here and that we're having this "afterwards they'll turn on us" litigation is because the left had nothing to fill the vacuum in the first place.

Maybe we could spend more time thinking about how to get to where we can say "thanks, we'll take it from here" rather than fearing what happens when the cannon spins back to point at us in December.

I asked about this on Ask MeFi and... yeah, Project Lincoln is about all there was. Frustrating.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 9:29 AM on July 14 [23 favorites]


This is an amazing ad, and it's embarrassing it came from Republicans instead of Democrats. So yeah, even if Republicans are the 'enemy', these guys are doing good, valuable work.


Courage Can be Found in America

Content: A happy black protestor walking past a dour line of whites, many holding automatic weapons. Then comments from major Republican senators and congressmen deflecting Trump's actions, with the tagline 'Vote for Courage'.

It is not centrist.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:29 AM on July 14 [21 favorites]


I recall a moment in Dune. (I say it that way because it's been a very long time since I read the book, and this wouldn't be the first time my memory has created something out of whole cloth. I may be misremembering the details and I'm sure someone will correct me. But this works for my purposes.)

Paul Atreides and his mother Jessica have escaped their betrayal by the hated Harkonnens and fled into the desert, where they are hunted by Harkonnen patrols. At some point they get into a battle with a small party of Harkonnens and succeed in killing them.

They are observed by a couple of young scouts from the mysterious Fremen, young men not very high in their military hierarchy. The Fremen have been watching and staying out of sight up to now. But seeing what's happened, they approach Paul and Jessica and take them to safety.

Whoever is in charge of the young scouts is giving them quite a dressing down for this. Why would you reveal yourselves to them? Why would you bring outsiders here? We never do that.

But they killed Harkonnens! the scouts protest.

EVERYBODY KILLS HARKONNENS! their leader thunders. That doesn't make them our friends!

Everybody hates Trump. It is the bare minimum required of an American citizen. Just because these people hate Trump, that doesn't make them our friends. They're still Republicans. They were fine with everything the Republican party was up until 2016, and if someone who wasn't a complete and utter embarrassment of an assclown had come along in 2016, saying the same shit a bit more eloquently and being a bit less obvious about their corruption, they'd have lapped it up like kittens with fresh cream.
posted by Naberius at 9:35 AM on July 14 [6 favorites]


It is so! frustrating! that the most effective not-talking-to-our-base propaganda for voting for Democrats comes from a Republican media group.

How is a Democratic group supposed to speak to people when the inconsistencies in values that Trump holds aren't our values? At best it's opportunistic, at worst it's insincere and insulting. We think they're wrong (and they are) and they know we think they're wrong. There's no productive conversation to be had there. The call needs to come from inside the house.

We (the Democratic base) elected a draft dodger in 1992. Why? Because we honestly didn't care because most of use believe that most wars are useless, unnecessary, and should be discouraged when at all possible. Why are we telling Republicans about Captain Bone Spurs? It's patronizing. People who share that value of honor, integrity, and service to the country via the military path can speak to these people far more effectively than we ever could.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:41 AM on July 14 [9 favorites]


It is so! frustrating! that the most effective not-talking-to-our-base propaganda for voting for Democrats comes from a Republican media group. The whole reason these bozos are here and that we're having this "afterwards they'll turn on us" litigation is because the left had nothing to fill the vacuum in the first place.

Please don't confuse centrist Democrats with the left. The actual left can also be pretty clueless about talking to folks who lean conservative, but there are many grassroots groups who do successfully connect around class issues, for example.
posted by eviemath at 9:46 AM on July 14 [5 favorites]


And I'm sorry for being such a nag in this thread. It's just that elections are won and lost on the day. We can't be handicapping ourselves demanding that everyone who allies with us to win that fight be perfectly aligned to us on our values. If a moderate Eisenhower Republican just wants sanity back then let them vote Biden for it thinking that's what they'll get. We outnumber them on issues that are core to our values and we can still bring the fight on those issues.

The Republicans far too often think the ends justify the means but us on the left also far too often think that it's bad to grab power to enact the ends we need to see. We need to not be afraid of demanding our seat at the table but also TAKING IT even when other people we dislike are giving us the means to seat more of us. You guys looked at Biden's platform lately? His unity committee is basically drafting Bernie policy word for word and putting it in his platform. It feels like we're finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel we've been in since Nixon.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:49 AM on July 14 [40 favorites]


The debate about these ads on the center-left takes it for granted that, even though TLP are awful ghouls, the ads they're making are good for the Dems' electoral chances.

But I wonder about whether they are a net positive for the Dems electorally. It's not even so much the ads themselves, but the liberal fawning over how powerful they are, how surely this will destroy Trump. It reinforces the notion that this election should be about persuading the good, decent, moderate Republicans – just like in 2016.
posted by Beardman at 9:50 AM on July 14 [7 favorites]


The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump both can speak to Trump’s base more effectively that a Democrat ever could.

But they aren't speaking to Trump's base. They aren't trying to convert Trump voters. If you've noticed, most of their ad spending is in the DC area which is not Trump territory in any way. So who exactly is their audience. It isn't Trump voters in red states. It's the DC lobbyists shoving money at Trump that they are trying to win back. It's always about the grift.
posted by JackFlash at 9:51 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


It reinforces the notion that this election should be about persuading the good, decent, moderate Republicans – just like in 2016.

2009 we passed the biggest advance in healthcare coverage in American history. 2010 the Obama coalition vanished into thin air leaving the Democrats hanging and destroying the House for a decade. I'm not saying that persuading "good" Republicans is right (it's not) but we certainly don't respond in a way that trains the establishment to think differently.

But they aren't speaking to Trump's base. They aren't trying to convert Trump voters. If you've noticed, most of their ad spending is in the DC area which is not Trump territory in any way.

They are. It's a strategy of attention and attenuation. Everyone has their breaking point. Everyone has that one issue that will finally break them. You run enough ads (like they are) that garner enough attention (like they have) and you get a machine that's basically grinding away at that base picking off the voters one by one simply by talking in their values and leading them to that breaking point. It's almost like they're letting these voters know that it's safe to turn away from Trump.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:54 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


> It reinforces the notion that this election should be about persuading the good, decent, moderate Republicans – just like in 2016.

the ads are about psyops, not persuasion. it’s best to avoid thinking of them in terms of who they convince.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:54 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


So who exactly is their audience?

One dude with an office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
posted by sideshow at 9:55 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


One dude with an office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

And that makes them an ally how? They aren't changing any voters' minds.
posted by JackFlash at 9:57 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


One dude with an office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

And that makes them an ally how? They aren't changing any voters' minds.

Can we please stop with the flippancy. Needling Trump is only one pillar.

Betrayed, Truth, Crickets, Flag of Treason.

A lot of these ads are aimed to reach people and say "I'm one of you and I hate this" and "this is who you're getting into bed with?". This is what I've been talking about.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:02 AM on July 14 [16 favorites]


Personally, I don't care if a voter is a civility fetishist or a moderate Republican or a total scumbag or someone I agree with 100% politically. I care about getting enough voters to vote for Biden so that we can avoid a full-on fascist hellscape.
posted by overglow at 10:04 AM on July 14 [25 favorites]


JackFlash, I think you're right about The Lincoln Project being aimed at Trump, but so far as I know, RVAT is aimed at Trump's base. Am I missing something?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 10:04 AM on July 14


There's over fifty different ads on different topics put out by TLP alone.

Attack ad against McSally, attack ad against vulnerable Senators, attack ad against Mitch McConnell.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:05 AM on July 14 [5 favorites]


I don't get the hand wringing. I really don't. They aren't some secret cabal who will betray us later. We know they oppose progressive values and will continue to do so, but in the short term they, too, are targeting not only Trump but some Republican senators.

Don't donate to them, don't consider them long term allies, otherwise don't worry about it.

It is so! frustrating! that the most effective not-talking-to-our-base propaganda for voting for Democrats comes from a Republican media group.

There are a lot of complaints--one is linked in the OP--that this is *not* effective and *only* talks to hard core anti-Trumpists. Then people on the internet nod along to the ads, say they are "devastating." They probably are, same way so many TV comedians "destroyed" Trump before he won.

It's not clear the DNC should be spending money or brainpower on stuff like this.

I mean I like the ads too, but I hate Trump.
posted by mark k at 10:05 AM on July 14 [11 favorites]


Trump is not a greater evil. He's the same evil, but less competent.

I wish this were true, but Trump is the first in living memory who considers himself a fucking king. The entire reason The Lincoln Project exists is because of the danger Trump and the Trumpists present to the very foundations of civil society that goes well beyond anything the "drown it in the bathtub" crowd ever dreamed of. It has become a literal suicide cult with its own pledge of allegiance.
posted by wierdo at 10:12 AM on July 14 [34 favorites]


you know what i want to be all "democrats will handwring about anything! democrats would lack the courage of their convictions even against literal hitler!" but you know what, even on this thread, even on a site that's a premier hotbed of liberal democratic handwringing, the number of handwringers is relatively small and insignificant.

of course don't give money to the lincoln project. they are monsters. and besides, they've already got more money than they know what to do with. but also: study them. copy them. politics right now (and maybe always) is war by very very very slightly different means, and the only way this mess isn't going to turn into a full- on boogaloo is if we're super fucking vicious about winning the propaganda war.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:18 AM on July 14 [18 favorites]


It's not clear the DNC should be spending money or brainpower on stuff like this.

I heartily agree. Ian Danskin of Innuendo studios has a video series about this sort of stuff and I think one of them especially holds true:
But modern liberals seem especially susceptible to it [looking like you're winning] because it plays on one of their big weaknesses which is, and I say this with love, the liberal fantasy of putting someone in their place.
Democrats (and us leftists for that matter) want to be right more than they/we want to win. Losing (even to a fascist) is fine as long as we're the smartest people in the room about it. "Throwing away your vote is bullshit, you have the right to vote for whoever you want", "Biden is just as big an imperialist", "Four more years of Trump will accelerate the coming revolution of the proletariat". Shit like that.

I kind of get it though. When I think about how badly I want to win an election so we can actually start to fix shit I get thoroughly uncomfortable about myself wanting that level of power and feeling that wanting is already starting to corrupt me. If I'm not given the power the "right" way instead of fighting for it, am I better than any other person who's craved power and then been corrupted by it? If I present my argument as correctly as I can I may lose but at least I didn't lose my humanity by lunging for power.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:20 AM on July 14 [21 favorites]


The Republican Party is a total, disgusting immoral mess. Still, right wing, conservative thought is widespread in the electorate. There’s a constituency for conservative politics. Someone is going to have to represent them in government. There will be a party that coalesces around those voters. It’s good for everyone — leftists, centrists, right wingers — if that party is a loyal opposition that honestly seeks to serve the people they represent and believes in things like voting and rule of law and not selling your country to hostile foreign powers for personal gain. So, yes I hope these plain Republicans do manage to retake their party from the outright fascists, so we can go back to arguing about tax policy or whatever instead of whether or not it will hurt the president’s feelings if we try to stop spreading a deadly disease.
posted by chrchr at 10:22 AM on July 14 [11 favorites]


Don't donate to them, don't consider them long term allies, otherwise don't worry about it.

This, plus one more: when your friends on social media link to their ads, make sure you let them know that TLP is a GOP #NeverTrump operation. It’s important to prevent long-term trust from forming before they inevitably pull off their mask and start backstabbing us. Most people are not as politically informed as your median Metafilter political thread participant. To my friends’ credit: when I started doing this a couple weeks ago half of them already knew, and the other half appreciated my letting them know.
posted by Ryvar at 10:23 AM on July 14 [6 favorites]


My personal theory is that the Republicans decided to embrace cynicism as their only real position at some point in the late 20th Century, and it hasn't yet dawned on them that the pot of gold at the end of that particular rainbow is a morass of deep-seated nihilism. You can't govern from that place, which is why Trump is the ideal president.

The goal of the Lincoln Project is really just to back out of the mud and get back to the heady business of cynicism, as if the Trump presidency were merely a wrong turn instead of an inevitable cul-de-sac.
I'll worry about that after the election. Priorities, people!
Just like the previous, what, 10 elections? The single most impressive result of the Republicans' strategy has been their success at convincing Democrats to chase their tails around the notion that when they win the next one utopia will spontaneously erupt. The fantasy that they'll do the right thing after they win isn't materially different from the game Republicans are playing. A few Democrats are winning by doing the right thing, but the party itself considers them a threat.
...the left is inept...
The Left isn't inept. To the extent that there's any credibility, energy or coherent policy activism coming out of the Party, it's coming from the Left, giving voters what they want and need and winning. The perception of ineptitude comes from the misalignment between the Democrats' stated and actual goals, their willingness to crush progressive candidates who threaten the status quo and from the uncritical consumption of media narratives and Republican talking points. If you fail to see through those pernicious narratives, it's on you.
posted by klanawa at 10:31 AM on July 14 [11 favorites]


Reading the articles, these are former Bush II administration people whose careers were harmed by the ascension of Donald Trump in the party. Their efforts are entirely self-interested and more about winning back influence and, probably more importantly, donor dollars, within the Republican politics generally and neoconservative politics specifically, than about helping Democrats. Still, they are going to do what they were always going to do, so I'm not particularly worried about them. Trump barely won in 2016, and Biden seems, if not popular, at least acceptable to the moderate suburban swing voters the Clinton campaign tried to win with in 2016, so I don't think they are going to affect the election either way in any case.

I'm more interested, and worried, about the reaction of elite liberals and people who consider themselves on the left to them. If they are fawning over them, why? Are memories really that short? At the end of Bush II in 2008, the Bush administration had bungled the Iraq War, the Katrina response, and overseen the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression. These people were in power then. Are memories really that short?

We are in the middle a failed pandemic response and are in the beginnings of a failed response to the economic recession resulting from that pandemic and the (failed) efforts undertaken to mitigate it. The temptation to just blame Trump for it all is going to be very high because he makes an easy target. He's the heel, and, even if inadvertently, he plays the role well. Are people going to simply go to sleep if (when) he loses in 2020 just like they went to sleep after Obama was elected in 2008? Did people really just wake up in 2016 and realize that Obama didn't fix everything with the piecemeal, and failed, reforms they enacted from 2008 to 2010?

I listen to the This Week in Virology Podcast, which features a rotating cast of virologists, immunologists, and epidemiologists. I think Fauci is even going to be on next week. They know, better than anyone on the planet, how serious this current crisis. Even they, however, looking at our failed response to this pandemic, occasionally comment that this is only a shot across the bow. There are worse diseases out there, and in a globalized world with factory farming and humans constantly encroaching on natural disease reservoirs, they will find us. Climate change, in addition to being distrastrious in and of itself - it's hurricane season folks, try to social distance through that - may cause entire new diseases to become endemic in places where they are now unknown. Those a are just a few examples.
posted by eagles123 at 10:35 AM on July 14 [6 favorites]


Comrades! The KPD must always fight against the duplicitous tyranny of the SPD!

...the NSDAP, well, we can just deal with them later probably, once we've eliminated the SPD, right? Right?
posted by aramaic at 10:36 AM on July 14 [9 favorites]


The perception of ineptitude comes from the misalignment between the Democrats' stated and actual goals, their willingness to crush progressive candidates who threaten the status quo and from the uncritical consumption of media narratives and Republican talking points. If you fail to see through those pernicious narratives, it's on you.

Except we never actually play the game. All we do is sit on the sidelines and lob Molotov cocktails at the centrists.

It's trivially easy in a lot of areas to get leftists onto the county and state Democratic Party boards and then onto the DNC to put real change. Very few of us actually do it. That's how we get idiots like Bill Owen who go on TV and tell the world they'll tear the Democratic Party apart before they let Bernie be its standard bearer.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:39 AM on July 14 [7 favorites]


> Comrades! The KPD must always fight against the duplicitous tyranny of the SPD!

what's funny is that on this thread the spd members are complaining about a freikorps unit going rogue and shooting nsdap members while the kpd members are like "lol this is awesome."
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:48 AM on July 14 [6 favorites]


note: not a stalinist. but i swear four more years of this shit is gonna drive me full tankie
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:50 AM on July 14 [9 favorites]


The Never Trump 'leaders' are generals without armies. Their influence over the actual Republican electorate, especially in the primaries where the actual battles in the party take place, is essentially non-existent. I really don't think that George Will has any influence in the Republican primaries at any level. My personal feeling is that both the Lincoln Project and the Republican Voters Against Trump are hedging their bets for influence in the GOP elite circles post Trump. I don't think they really believe they are going to influence this election cycle, going by where their ad buys are.

Anne Applebaum's recent book, excerpted in The Atlantic, gets closer to the truth, IMHO. This is virtue signalling by the elites from one side to the elites on the other side, so they will get invited to parties.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:03 AM on July 14 [7 favorites]


also since we're going back to berlin 1933 i feel compelled to quote the last speech of spd leader otto wels, which i've seen characterized as the last free words spoken in the reichstag:
"You can take our lives and our freedom, but you cannot take our honour. We are defenseless but not honourless."
so like good for them they kept their honor that's so wonderful that's real important
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:07 AM on July 14 [10 favorites]


A New York Times analysis found that 86 percent of the president’s 2016 voters are committed to voting for him again.
And it's actually 86 + 8% = 94% "8% have said that they no longer support the president but are not sure if they will vote for him again." LOL.

Yet they still put those endless stupid swing voter stories out.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:11 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


But they killed Harkonnens!

I believe you're combining Paul and Jessica's flight with the origin story of Chani's grandfather, Pardot Kynes. A trivial point in itself, but it seems worth mentioning given that Pardot only survived to continue his creepy (and ultimately successful) agenda of ecological destruction because the appointed assassin Uliet obeyed Pardot's instruction to "remove yourself."

So perhaps a lesson here: let them kill all the Harkonnens they want, but never let them tell you what to do.

But we're a long way from Fremen discipline in any event, so any relevant lessons should be taken with several grains of sand.
posted by Not A Thing at 11:29 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


At a minimum, they're making the Trump campaign piss away funds on ads in the DC market. Every dollar diverted from swing states is a help.

Do ad even convince anybody anymore? It seems its been so polarized for so long, can't imagine someone is just "one right ad" away from switching support. I can't imagine someone has seen the cheetos-in-chief act for the last 4 years and is like "I'm was on the fence, but this ad convinced me to vote against Trump".
posted by WaterAndPixels at 11:30 AM on July 14


And it's actually 86 + 8% = 94% "8% have said that they no longer support the president but are not sure if they will vote for him again." LOL.

If Trump receives 94% of his votes from 2016 and Biden only managed to get the same votes Clinton did (i.e. it's just Trump voters staying home, not even switching), then Trump loses. Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania would all flip.
posted by jedicus at 11:32 AM on July 14 [9 favorites]


If you want to consider these guys allies, fine. I don't.

Just never forget that these are the same guys who want to cut Social Security, cut Medicare, repeal Obamacare, privatize the schools, bust the unions, eliminate public pensions, pillage the environment, eliminate the minimum wage, cut unemployment insurance, neuter OSHA, eliminate anti-discrimination laws, cut their taxes and keep their guns.

They are just angry that Trump has bungled the enterprise.
posted by JackFlash at 11:36 AM on July 14 [10 favorites]


If 6% of Trump's voters switch to the Democrats and other things stay constant, they win the popular vote by eight points. The biggest margin since the 90's. If 6% switch and 8% stay home, it's a twelve point win.

I don't know how effective TLP or RVAT will be but letting these other truly non-allied organizations run ads that do *anything* with the Trump base--persuade a handful, get a few more to stay home--it is very convenient. That's resources and messaging the Biden campaign can point towards other voters.
posted by mark k at 11:38 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


If 6% of Trump's voters switch to the Democrats and other things stay constant, they win the popular vote by eight points. The biggest margin since the 90's. If 6% switch and 8% stay home, it's a twelve point win.

You both made the assumption that the 6% and 8% are consistent across states. I'm not sure that's a safe assumption, especially since as we saw last time, voters aren't evenly distributed.


If you want to consider these guys allies, fine. I don't.
Fine. Then we won't tell them about our secret plan to give statehood to Puerto Rico and DC, so we can be done with these silly battles.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:52 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I'm all for encouraging another bully who starts to attack the one I'm already fighting. But I don't really get this audience-of-one thing. The idea is to provoke him to do and tweet even crazier shit? Like he'll finally cross some kind of line? Really?
posted by gottabefunky at 11:57 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I'm happy they're doing their thing. They've got plenty of money to keep doing it, so please, if anyone wants to move the country leftward, don't give to them. Instead, work on easing the Congressional bottleneck to progress by funding idlewords's Great Slate or Swing Left.
posted by Jpfed at 11:58 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


yeah like if you’re a liberal feeling discomfort about being on the same side as these goons, remind yourself that your position is largely isomorphic to the position of left and center-left people uncomfortable about supporting biden — really, it’s a lot easier, since none of y’all have to give money to or make public statements of support for the lincoln project — they’ll keep on messing with trumpists no matter what you say or do.

in conclusion, i hope that everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, does everything they’re comfortable with to help ensure that joe biden becomes the last president of the united states of america.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:05 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]



Trump is not a greater evil. He's the same evil, but less competent.

I wish this were true, but


with covid-19, Trump's incompetence has become the greater evil. It's not theoretical anymore. It's tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, maybe hundreds of thousands before he's done. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't lead the country out of the mess he's shoved it into. He fundamentally lacks the skills. The only thing he's ever been good at is taking care of himself and right now, that means getting re-elected By Any Means Necessary, because if he loses in November, he's probably going to jail ... and his kids with him probably.
posted by philip-random at 12:07 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


The idea is to provoke him to do and tweet even crazier shit?

The idea is to sow discord among his inner circle and to derail his campaign.

Trump's already a house of cards. As soon as it's clear that the ship is sinking, all the rats will scurry off.
posted by explosion at 12:08 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


You both made the assumption that the 6% and 8% are consistent across states. I'm not sure that's a safe assumption, especially since as we saw last time, voters aren't evenly distributed.

No, I didn't. I was talking about national vote totals. I didn't even try to break down state by state, which is not the same as assuming there is no variation between states.

What's your point? Are you actually arguing that a 10-point swing nationally for some reason is unlikely to include moves of at least 1-point in swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and therefore my comment is misleading? If not I'm not sure what what you are trying to get at.
posted by mark k at 12:10 PM on July 14


It reinforces the notion that this election should be about persuading the good, decent, moderate Republicans – just like in 2016.

We're stuck pleading with these people until the Electoral College is abolished.

As a liberal, I've grown old enough to see the word "liberal" sneered with as much mockery by leftists as by the Bible Belters I grew up around. I can't afford to be offended by that, or much of anything anymore. If there is one thing I understand, it's that I don't understand how to sell something to the broader American public. I have to accept that as good as my intentions may be, I fall totally short of understanding how to get through to folks who don't share some of my unrelated values. For example, I was going to make an analogy about Saruman rebelling against Sauron, because I am a fucking nerd, but I didn't, because I can at least understand that.

The new Never Trumpers do know what to say, it seems. They want to fight for their own reasons, not all of which are good. I'm not here for the purity contest. After four more years of Trump, there may be no America left to be pure in.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:16 PM on July 14 [30 favorites]


in conclusion, i hope that everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, does everything they’re comfortable with to help ensure that joe biden becomes the last president of the united states of america.

What?!
posted by NotLost at 12:31 PM on July 14


I believe Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon was quite clear. Make of that what you will
posted by Braeburn at 12:35 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Thomas Pynchon is a subtle wordsmith.
posted by eagles123 at 12:37 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


...the left is inept...
The Left isn't inept.


In a time when there has never been more negative energy in the country against old white dudes and misogyny... they put forth a white septuagenarian groper.
posted by 445supermag at 12:38 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


There's an argument about whether that would have happened without the pandemic, or without the other moderates (hardly The Left) stepping aside so as not to split the vote, but leave aside. In any case, he's what we've got and he's not totally without his advantages.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:41 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


In a time when there has never been more negative energy in the country against old white dudes and misogyny... they put forth a white septuagenarian groper.

This isn't "the Left". You are describing American liberals.
posted by Ouverture at 12:47 PM on July 14 [17 favorites]


I personally think it's a great thing to let the polite white supremacist genocide perpetrators waste their time and energy fighting the rude white supremacist genocide perpetrators.

But I think it would be horrifying if liberals actually think the polite white supremacist genocide perpetrators will stop being and doing those awful things after Trump.

The leopards will continue eating people's faces whenever they have power; they just won't be as rude and unclassy about it.
posted by Ouverture at 12:54 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


There are plenty of Republicans who happily cheer every time different members of the Democratic party attack each other. They are gleeful whenever there’s some headline that claims Bernie hates Pelosi or AOC and Biden had a fight or whatever.

When the Republicans cheer one Democrat attacking another, do you think they’re sitting there fretting about being “on the same side” as the Democrat?

It’s ok to enjoy watching your enemies tear each other down. You don’t have to worry that cheering for the marginally less bad one makes you a bad person.
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 1:04 PM on July 14 [19 favorites]


We've had the WWII analogy, so here's a soccer analogy. Sometimes your opponent's defender makes a sloppy back-pass and ends up scoring an own-goal. When that happens, you don't decline the goal, you don't imagine that defender has switched sides, and you don't stop continuing to try and score more goals. You grin, and press your attack. Maybe you even try and concentrate on that defender's side in hopes that the first mistake will result in over-thinking, reduced confidence, and more mistakes.

As fans, you cheer for the own-goal, and you might offer sarcastic encouragement to the defender (or helpfully provide hints which goal his team is supposed to score in). Maybe you even try and goad the opposing team into infighting or even a classic Montreal Meltdown.

But you don't forget which team they're actually on, and you don't imagine that next game they'll have switched teams. You just take the points.
posted by nickmark at 1:28 PM on July 14 [24 favorites]


What I see here is something that works for the first time in my life to overcome literally decades of right wing dominance. Damn right I gave them 20 bucks.

Sit back, enjoy the circus, but—for god's sake—do NOT feed the animals!
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:40 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


Sit back, enjoy the circus, but—for god's sake—do NOT feed the animals!

Especially because they'll just turn around and eat you and they've eaten people in the past. The experience of Americans arming certain resistance groups in Afghanistan because they were fighting the Soviets comes to mind. How did that turn out?
posted by eagles123 at 1:44 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Sit back, enjoy the circus, but—for god's sake—do NOT feed the animals!

This. Let the Republicans who desperately want their civility shell out for these people.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:46 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


I don't get the hand wringing. I really don't.

I'd go with not wanting the self-reflection of how "your side" "sucks".

Look at the reaction to a negative statement about "your side". The reactions range from 'tool of the Russians' to 'you are helping the other side win' to 'just sour grapes because you supported X and X didn't get selected'. Rarely is the reaction "yes, that is a problem and we should address that".

Look at the reactions in the blue city leaders FPP this week on The Blue to the valid statements about how the problems don't seem to be addressed. Look at the reaction of some to various high profile BIPOC when they claim some kind of speaking for a group and thus they are empowered to speak on behalf of the broken policy towards said group which is taken as "not favorable to your side".

One doesn't need TLP to create these kind of adverts. There is what appears to be a small, unfunded team called meidastouch on the twitter doing adverts using public video and remixing/adding hot takes as adverts. To do what TLP is doing in creating the ads only needs the raw material and the skills to re-purpose that material.

To get them broadcast - that takes money. And not eveyone who could vote is on Twitter/YouTube and looking for the ads to drop. To place them in the media being consumed - that takes money. If it isn't your money and there is no "freedom dollars" (or whatever Yang was pushing as a limited cash for advertising political stuff) why not just let 'em do their thing so long as what they are saying is not (untrue/racist/sexist/whatever red line should exist in a political advert)?

Biden only managed to get the same votes Clinton did.. then Trump loses. Wisconsin.... would all flip.

“Ain’t none of this been working,” said a barber who had trouble finding health care, is now shelling out $300 a month for a plan he can’t afford, and who didn’t vote.

1) attempt to get them to vote anyway but really
2) show how the proposed new boss is actually going to get something to work/change VS well, the proposed new bosses track record.

Imagine you are the barber - what reason would you think things are gonna change just because the person at the top changed if you've lived though Nixon to today if you had the 'tude expressed in that NYMAG article?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:19 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


We're stuck pleading with these people until the Electoral College is abolished.

And we are stuck with 'vote for the lesser of these 2 evils' as there is no Instant Run Off or Ranked Choice method.

I've seen political signs for everyone BUT the guy who's supposed to be the standard bearer for the leading Not-Trump party.

The one yard which might have such signage just says 'vote blue'.

So take whatever Not-Trump messaging that is a paid advert you get.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:31 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


JackFlash: "If you want to consider these guys allies, fine. I don't."

I don't mean to pick on you, Jack — yours is just the most recent comment to say something like this.

“The formation of transactional coalitions in order to produce mutually desired outcomes” is so damn close to a definition of the word “politics” that I'm having a hard time identifying with these feelings of unease. McCain and Feingold co-sponsored campaign finance reform, but they were not “allies,” nor were Obama and Tom Coburn “allies” when they co-sponsored transparency legislation.

Assuming it gets its way in 2020, The Lincoln Project will probably pivot to an effort to nominate a non-demagogue Republican in 2024 so as not to repeat this mistake. I wish them well; that's a tall task. They're not going to lobby for a seat at the table; they're not going to feel like Democrats “owe” them anything. They want Trump out of power, and that'll be reward enough for them. If, somehow, I'm wrong, and Biden tries to create a new Department of Being Wrong just so he can stick Bill Kristol in his cabinet, nobody in this thread will be in favor of it. If we manage not to screw this up, the Coalition of Fuck Trump will be self-dissolving on Wednesday, November 4.
posted by savetheclocktower at 4:56 PM on July 14 [14 favorites]


They want Trump out of power, and that'll be reward enough for them.

None of them are that optimistic. They know Trumpism needs to be removed root and branch from the GOP and they won't support voting GOP until it's gone. I'm personally more hopeful that we're going to witness a major realignment and the seventh party system. The Republican party becomes a regional rump party while the progressives start to run against the Democratic party as actual rivals rather than primarying. I think this will be especially true in blue states where there are efforts right now to push towards ranked voting (vote yes on the MA RCV initiative my Bay State compadres). Once ranked voting is in place the duopoly will be easier to break in liberal areas.

We might even see a four way alignment, progressives, centrists, moderate Republicans, and bat shit christofascists all fighting each other in different states, none able to solidify a majority and relying on coalitions for the first time.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:19 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


From above in this thread:

"On Twitter almost all of the pact have basically said the Republican party needs to be tossed out into the wilderness for a generation and they will be voting Democratic down the ballot at least for the next few cycles."

I know of only one Democrat in my parents lifetimes of nearly 100 years who has actually pulled that off. His name was Roosevelt. No one alive now can make that claim. Several cycles of solid and unassailable Democratic rule combined with the people holding them accountable for needed change as they are now could result in a livable country for a lot of folks again.

Yeah I am well aware of what those folks on TLP have done in the past. What are they doing now? They are the only ones who have been able to put together a way to get under his skin and the skins of those who oppose the idea of this country as a decent place to live. And I hear people talking about how they can never be trusted and never change... I have lived with and found common cause with registered Republicans before. TLP is much like them. Not everyone is going to have the same worldview or ideas we have but the people who voted for Trump don't even accept our right to co exist in the place where we were born. I see Rick Wilson on Twitter agreeing that police need to be restrained and maybe defunded. I don't think he is remaining the same; I see some growth there. Might be wise to at least give people a chance.

And besides, really: who else have we got? The entire Democratic establishment has gotten us nowhere to date in even restraining Trump or his supporters (was gonna say "ilk" but I hate that GD word lol). House and Senate both have failed to go out of their way politically. I understand they like to get reasonable legislation passed but being reasonable with Trump is not going anywhere. He comes from Mc Carthy's era. He was mentored by Roy Cohn, as was Roger Stone. Those are his people and you can't blink or waffle when you are dealing with them. Wilson and that bunch knows this and are ruthless. We are in a revolution the likes of which none of us have ever seen, only read about. Heads were broken and people bled and people died for what we thought was achieved and took for granted. It's going to happen again. There will be organization and resistance and near civil war if we are lucky. I heard a TLP member state bluntly that this election is the most important since 1864, when in his words we "decided if we were going to remain a nation".

As much as Roosevelt and the union leaders were able to accomplish before the coup was attempted and the courts ruled against them and the war, we might be able to accomplish more because they might be on our side for once.

I think we better find ways to stop arguing and suspecting folks who aren't like us before the earth becomes unstoppably unlivable. We have work to do.
posted by cybrcamper at 5:25 PM on July 14 [12 favorites]


The point I was trying to make with that remark is that their efforts to get Trumpist Republicans out of office doesn't end on November 4th. They seem to be planning to keep going, if not in a professional capacity, at least their personal ones.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:27 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


"What I see here is something that works for the first time in my life to overcome literally decades of right wing dominance. Damn right I gave them 20 bucks.

Sit back, enjoy the circus, but—for god's sake—do NOT feed the animals!"

Who the hell else have I got to feed? I want someone with a cat o nine tails living rent free in Donald Trump's head, and Rick Wilson is doing just that. Not anyone on the left. This is politics, and arguably it is revolution of a sort. Fuck Civility. (except in this fine space!)
posted by cybrcamper at 5:33 PM on July 14


Trump isn't just a Republican. He's an authoritarian who threatens democracy itself.

How Democracies Die describes how center-right parties play a crucial role in responding to an authoritarian threat. Do they join forces with the authoritarian, anti-democratic candidate, or do they openly call for voters on the right to support the center-left candidate? The 2016 election in the US demonstrates the first case: the Republican Party was too weak to stop Trump from being nominated, and then fell in line. The 2017 election in France demonstrates the second case: when the runoff came down to Macron vs. Le Pen, the French center-right endorsed the center-left Macron over the far-right Le Pen. The worst case is of course the fall of the Weimar Republic.

Why has the Republican Party failed to oppose Trump? What's the source of his power over Republican officials? There's a very interesting article by Jake Bernstein, The Fundraising Pulpit, which is unfortunately (mostly) behind a paywall. In short, the Republican small-donation fundraising machine seems to depend on driving its donors steadily more crazy, propagating all kinds of conspiracy theories, and Trump has control over this machine. Mitt Romney is basically the only elected Republican official who openly opposes him, voting for impeachment.

Joseph O'Neill suggests that the Democratic Party needs to strengthen its messaging: not just its 2020 campaign messaging, but its long-term party branding. For example: "Americans have a built-in view of the GOP as the party that does a better job of handling national security. This perception - a six-point advantage in recent polls - makes a significant difference when elections are decided by one or two points. ... How on earth is this advantage possible?" The answer is marketing.
What is to be done? Very simply, we need to see a negative branding operation [targeting the GOP, not just Trump] complete with strategists, writers, and messengers. The only organization that appears equipped to manage this is the Democratic National Committee. The nearest thing it has to a branding operation is its War Room. Its communications strategy - Trump is the villain - is confirmed by a quick scroll through @DNCWarRoom's tweets: almost every tweet mentions Trump and how awful he is.
A case study: when Pelosi was asked in January to comment on one of Trump's tweets calling her "Crazy Nancy", she responded as follows.
It's Sunday morning. I'd like to talk about some more pleasant subjects than the erratic nature of this president of the United States. But he has to know that every knock from him is a boost.

... I don't like to spend too much time on his crazy tweets, because everything he says is a projection. When he calls someone crazy he knows that he is. Everything he says you can just translate it back to him. Let's be optimistic about the future, a future that will not have Donald Trump in the White House one way or another.
O'Neill: "Pretty good, right? Now imagine if Pelosi had said something like this:"
It's very unfortunate. It's what the Republican Party has turned into. I'm not sure what has happened to them. It's very sad for our country. A lot of folks used to look up to people in the Republican Party, used to trust them to do what was right for Americans - to do their job. But that's all changed. Their values have changed radically. Americans are asking, "What's happened to the Republican Party?" I can't answer that. But I can tell you one thing: Americans will have their say in November.
O'Neill:
Pelosi's actual response was impressive: it showed her to be a calm, dignified grownup, and it favorably differentiated her from Trump. But going after Trump by name and criticizing his personal attributes has little value as far as partisan branding goes: in fact, by positioning Democrats as the alternative to Trump, by positioning Trump and not the GOP as the problem, Pelosi absorbed the provisionality of the Trump brand into her own party's brand. The imaginary Pelosi response, by contrast, would tell the brand story: Americans can't trust the Republican Party anymore. What's relevant about the president's misconduct is that it's Republican misconduct. Americans are right to be worried about the Republican Party.

It would be a problem for GOP strategists if every time Trump tweets, Democrats from across the ideological spectrum respond in unison, in a tone that's more in sorrow than in anger, that Republican Party has lost its values. Nor would this messaging tactic be confined to presidential tweets. Republican politicians say and do horrible things every day. With a clearly understood negative brand strategy, Democratic officials would be able to plug into their basic narrative in response to every new datum of right-wing viciousness or incompetence. Hundreds of gun extremists are occupying Richmond, Virginia on Martin Luther King Day? Easy: "I have lots of conservative friends. They're all asking, 'What has happened to the Republican Party?'"
If O'Neill's diagnosis is correct, it's very helpful that the Lincoln Project ex-Republicans are going after Trump's Republican enablers, not just Trump himself. And the fact that they're ex-Republicans also lends strength to O'Neill's suggested message: "What happened to the Republican Party?"

FiveThirtyEight describes anti-Trump ex-Republicans as a faction within the Democratic Party:
it is possible that 5 to 10 percent of the people who will vote for Biden in November backed either Romney in 2012 or Trump in 2016 and at some point identified as conservative or Republican. So while “Never Trump” conservatives are a smaller and less formal constituency in the Democratic Party than black voters, for example, some of them feel exiled from a Republican Party dominated by Trump, backed Democrats in the 2018 midterms and participated in the 2020 Democratic primaries. Michael Halle, a strategist on Buttigieg’s campaign, said about 50 of the campaign’s county precinct captains in Iowa were former Republicans who changed their party registration to become Democrats so they could participate in the caucuses and back the former mayor.

Those exiled Republicans are already mobilizing behind Biden in the general election. They are urging fellow conservatives not to support Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP in 2019 and last week announced an exploratory committee for a presidential run as the Libertarian candidate. They argue Amash’s candidacy might increase Trump’s chances of reelection.
Whether this temporary alliance lasts will depend on what happens in the election - if Trump is badly beaten, Never Trumpers may return to the Republican Party and attempt to rebuild it. But the fact that the Lincoln Project is attacking Republican Senators and not just Trump himself suggests that they're burning their boats. The political consultants in the Lincoln Project are probably never going to work for a Republican Senate campaign again.
posted by russilwvong at 5:56 PM on July 14 [26 favorites]


it might be worthwhile to look at a couple of their ads more closely, because some of them — but only some of them — are doing remarkably interesting things with the negative political ad form.

okay, first the one i don't like. or, rather, the one whose quality i can't be called upon to assess:

fellow traveler

okay, so, obviously i can't assess this one fully, because it relies heavily on linking trump and trumpists with soviet kitsch, and i (predictably) am a total sucker for soviet kitsch. like it's my favorite aesthetic and also my favorite regina spektor album. so on an emotional-aesthetic level i'm confused, because it keeps showing pictures of trump and mcconnell surrounded by things that i really like. and then, once i get over my emotional-aesthetic confusion, on a more purely intellectual level i'm like "oh come on the only things putin and lenin have in common are their nationality of origin and the last two letters of their names, stop pretending that the government of the current russian state is the government of the soviet union, grar grar grar."

it might play well with the people they're targeting! it really might! but even if it plays well with the republican base or whatever, i still think it's one of the weaker of the lincoln project ads. they're just using slick design (or leveraging the inherent slickness of soviet design) to do the standard scaremongering one associates with negative ads. and, fatally, for people who don't speak russian the message is delivered entirely in subtitles. donald trump can't read, and his supporters make a political point of not reading. this ad seems bad. i'm willing to defer to people who understand the republican mindset better than i do, but my hunch is this ad is in fact a bad ad.

the only reason i'm talking about it is to put the ad i'm about to talk about in sharp relief:

names

this is like no other negative political ad that i've ever seen. it in no way scaremongers. it doesn't come from a place of fear and it doesn't engender fear. instead, it vows retribution. it is a threat and it is a promise. it comes from a position of power — it implies that the creators of the ad are in fact already powerful — and it confidently explains that they will use this power to destroy and humiliate their enemies. and it does this by showing the names and faces of the enemies, over and over and over again, inspiring the viewer not to be scared of the ad's targets but instead to help be agents of that destruction. it uses — and i don't use this word lightly, even if sometimes it seems like i might — it uses an overtly fascist aesthetic and it uses it well.

earlier i called the lincoln project ads bullets in a gun. in this one, though, the ad is the gun and we are the bullets. although it promises social death for its targets rather than direct physical violence, nevertheless it's just this side of being stochastic terrorism — hell, it might actually be stochastic terrorism. and the lincoln project is deliberately running this threat of an ad specifically in places where the targets will see it.

i've never seen a political ad like this in my life. it's beautiful, and terrible, and unprecedented. we may allow ourselves to be horrified by it, but even so we are morally obligated to study it. we cannot let this weapon remain exclusively the property of the right, and we can't neutralize it or snatch it from their hands by just pretending it shouldn't exist. and we should thank all the gods that don't exist that at least for now the right is pointing this deadly weapon at their fellow fascists instead of at us.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:10 PM on July 14 [21 favorites]


It is so! frustrating! that the most effective not-talking-to-our-base propaganda for voting for Democrats comes from a Republican media group.

I understand the point. A different perspective is that it allows Biden/Dems the opportunity to say they are not the ones going negative in the campaign. Indeed, it is Rs eating "their own" that are doing such.

The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump both can speak to Trump’s base more effectively that a Democrat ever could.

But they aren't speaking to Trump's base. They aren't trying to convert Trump voters. If you've noticed, most of their ad spending is in the DC area which is not Trump territory in any way. So who exactly is their audience.

I'm a long ways from D.C. and I am seeing a bunch of the ads from TLP. They are going viral. If they want to burn the money in D.C., I say let them. Especially if that money is coming from R donors, who then cannot spend that money on other ads which would be more Pro-R.

I do think that a large portion of their ad buys are to get into Trump's head. I also think they are counting on the ads going viral to get a better bang for the buck for their ad buys.

I would argue that some of the ads (such as the Navy Seal calling him a coward) will probably pick off some of his voters from 2016, but I would not really push that argument.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 6:13 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Popular support for the GOP needs to be dealt with like smoking was dealt with: once it was sophisticated and respectable, then it pivoted to seemimg cool and rugged and individualistic, but now we get to see it as (with apologies to smokers) a harmful and addictive product engineered by amoral profiteers, bad for the smoker and bad for their friends and families. This is not the same as saying we should shame people---the most effective anti-smoking campaigns don't do that, either.

A different perspective is that it allows Biden/Dems the opportunity to say they are not the ones going negative in the campaign.

Yet a third perspective is that Project Lincoln will never be a vocal advocate for Democratic policies---if the narrative is always "trump bad" then we never hear about how healthcare and education are good things, that good government can be valuable for more than just armies and navies, that it makes sense for the wealthy to pay their share, and so on. Where is the strong, clear voice that says these things. The best we get now is recondite op-eds and tweets with semicolons in them that play dodge-em with decades of Republican talking points.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 6:38 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


They were fine with everything the Republican party was up until 2016, and if someone who wasn't a complete and utter embarrassment of an assclown had come along in 2016, saying the same shit a bit more eloquently and being a bit less obvious about their corruption, they'd have lapped it up like kittens with fresh cream

As a non-US citizen who spent his twenties watching Reagan and his idiot cronies help Thatcher shove the public good straight to the bottom of governmental priority lists and plant the seeds of the present militarist/financialist planetary dystopia, it pains and disgusts me to see the extent to which present-day Republicans - TLP emphatically included - give the cream-lapping treatment to the horked-up mess of that particular embarrassment of an assclown's legacy.
posted by flabdablet at 6:46 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


the frame through which we must assess the lincoln project ads is that of psychological warfare. they are effective ads if they demoralize the enemy

Are you sure they're not actually just pandering to the center-left, though, trying to find a new host now that the Republicans have brushed them off?
posted by atoxyl at 7:07 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


The best we get now is recondite op-eds and tweets with semicolons in them

I did not know the word “recondite” before reading this. Having looked it up I am very impressed with the apt choice to use it here. That’s good writing - well done, friend.
posted by nickmark at 7:11 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


i hope that everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, does everything they’re comfortable with to help ensure that joe biden becomes the last president of the united states of america.

Also I know we're all having fun here but I honestly find it hard to put together a scenario in which electing Joe Biden is the necessary precondition for Full Communism Now, if that's really what you're going for.
posted by atoxyl at 7:13 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


make joe biden alexander kerensky again
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:16 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Yet a third perspective is that Project Lincoln will never be a vocal advocate for Democratic policies

I didn't ever mean to imply that. I thought I made that clear by saying TLP is eating their own. I guess I should have phrased as currently eating their own to get rid of Trump. I also don't see anyone else here suggesting that is the case. If I am missing something, can you please cite?

---if the narrative is always "trump bad" then we never hear about how healthcare and education are good things

Just as examples, "healthcare and education are good things" are incredibly easier messages to push when, say, Biden's campaign does not have to waste time talking about who approved negative ads, if it is a Dem/left PAC pushing those ads, ad nauseum.

Biden can come right out and say, "I have no coordination with The Lincoln Project. My understanding is that it is a Republican PAC. They can attack Trump for [insert whatever], but I am campaigning on what I will do for the United States of America, such as [insert healthcare initiative and education initiative]".

In sum, I am okay with Rs burning their money trying to bring each other down. It's a nice side effect that it gives the potential for making Trump a one term president.

My feelings on Biden are a different story.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:20 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


more seriously, the weird times we're in are going to get a lot weirder in the next three or four months. the various benefits that've been keeping people from starving and from getting kicked out of their homes are going to expire next month — and even with those benefits in place, something like a third of all americans have already missed rent or mortgage payments. the powers that be are morons who don't understand that those benefits are revolution insurance.

meanwhile, we won't be at the peak of this current covid wave — likely to be the worst covid wave in the world — until at least two weeks from now, and that's assuming that everyone, including the dipshits in charge of the republican states, get their acts together immediately. and like clockwork this current wave will be followed by another wave in the fall, right when the election fight heats up in earnest.

while the covid crisis and the unemployment crisis and the housing crisis get deeper and deeper, the trumpists are going to increasingly whip up violence from their boogaloo base. meanwhile, the organized and effective left uprising is in the streets fighting against the racist murderous police state, and these organized effective mass protests are just going to get more and more intense as we approach the election.

if trump wins the election or otherwise holds onto power, that will establish the conditions for genuine unfettered fascism. if biden wins the election and successfully takes power, we'll have a tottering, weak, unstable liberal state inadequate to ever rise to the needs of our times.

i'll take the second option, please. make joe biden the last president of the united states.

(you know what, though? you might think i'm ridiculous — i am ridiculous! like i'm the author of crying of lot 49 that book is absurd! — but i guarantee you that by saying "make joe biden the last president of the united states," i've just now won over more left fencesitters than any amount of "but think of ruth bader ginsburg!" ever will. liberals need to learn that the arguments that they find convincing are not necessarily the arguments they should use to persuade others. say what you will about the lincoln project monsters, they're damned good at reading a room.)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:35 PM on July 14 [15 favorites]


These guys were behind an unjustified war of aggression that killed over 100,000 people. If having a problem with them is a purity test, then I'm Mr. Clean.
posted by eagles123 at 8:11 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


It looks like in AL, the pro-Trump Republicans are having a good day -- Jeff Sessions has lost his primary runoff for US Senate. Which is bad news, kinda, because whoever won this primary is likely going to be the next senator from AL unless more revelations of pedophilia happen.

But I want to take this moment to think of Jeff, and how he left a pretty sweet gig as Senator Forever to be Trump's AG, was eventually ~fired by Trump for not Trumping Trumpishly enough. To think about how it must feel to endure that and then to be rejected by the people of your own state.

And to summon Sweet Clyde to laugh derisively at him.

Oh, Jeffy? Izzums sad? Did the leopard eat your face? Awww.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:14 PM on July 14 [15 favorites]


As I said in another thread, the order of business is:

1) Remove Trump.

2) Everything else.


Anything that helps with 1), without fatally compromising 2), is worth considering.

The LP and RVAT are helping to do Trump's head in, and also persuade (or perhaps give permission to) at least a few R voters to either switch their vote or simply not vote at all. All of which is fine by me. For now.

The moment Trump is gone, the spotlight can be turned on the Never Trumpers (and the entire Repub machine) to hold them to account for their critical decades-long role in creating the toxic political zeitgeist that inevitably allowed a Trump to get a look in.

•••••••••

Trump isn't just a Republican. He's an authoritarian who threatens democracy itself.
russilwvong


He is far worse than that. He is a tyrant in his basic and irredeemable nature, who threatens, well, everything.

That apart, I commend your whole comment to all MeFites:

https://www.metafilter.com/187934/Republicans-against-Trump#7955839
posted by Pouteria at 9:59 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


This shouldn’t be surprising or disconcerting to anyone. From day one, Trump has made it clear that he only ever cared about his base. But his base was never the whole Republican Party. It’s just that everyone who wasn’t his base was frightened into silence. Now that they see he’s weak, they’re making their voices heard.

Some of them genuinely don’t like him. Why is that so hard to believe? We don’t like him. Why did we assume all republicans loved him equally? TLP folks dislike trump but don’t want to jump ship completely and become democrats. And why should they? It’s their party, too.

I also think it’s quite likely that if Trump loses in November, he’ll be taking A LOT of people down with him. Like everyone who went along with him, everyone who was cowed into supporting him. So if you’re a republican who doesn’t like trump, wouldn’t you be do everything you could to distance yourself? Perhaps they’re just trying to get a head start on rebuilding the Republican Party after the Trump coalition falls?
posted by panama joe at 10:12 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Some of them genuinely don’t like him. Why is that so hard to believe?

Because they were the exact same shitty Republicans decades before anybody ever heard Trump's name. Have you been sleeping since the Reagan administration? They were the same shitty Republicans back then. They were the same shitty Republicans during the Clinton administration. They were the same shitty Republicans during the Bush administration. They were the same shitty Republicans during the Obama administration. You think they've suddenly seen the error of their ways now?
posted by JackFlash at 10:39 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


That's like an early 20th century capitalist saying the AFL and IWW loved each other because they were both unions and is just as wrong. You don't need to care about internal Republican rifts (especially since the anti-Trumpers have a negligible consistency) but not caring doesn't mean they don't exist.
posted by mark k at 10:52 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


make joe biden alexander kerensky again

seriously?

i am ridiculous! like i'm the author of crying of lot 49 that book is absurd!

and yet, it's the only one I ever bothered making it to the end of. Though I did enjoy the Inherent Vice movie. Excellent use of Can's Vitamin C.

Anyway, about Kerensky and the October Revoution. Are you seriously positing that Joe f***ing Biden is even small "r" revolutionary?

Seriously?

I'm calling this the final collapse of the left. From now on, I'm taking my cues from Who albums.
posted by philip-random at 11:09 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I also think it’s quite likely that if Trump loses in November, he’ll be taking A LOT of people down with him. Like everyone who went along with him, everyone who was cowed into supporting him. So if you’re a republican who doesn’t like trump, wouldn’t you be do everything you could to distance yourself? Perhaps they’re just trying to get a head start on rebuilding the Republican Party after the Trump coalition falls?

The Trumpist coalition is not going to fall instantly. The base will keep sending Trumpist candidates to elections. In a lot of places they will lose. At that point they have to decide whether pragmatism or principles will win out the day. The GOP might just destroy itself through an obstinate base that keeps sending out nut jobs who can’t get elected outside of mostly nut job populated seats/states.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:53 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


The Trumpist coalition is not going to fall instantly. The base will keep sending Trumpist candidates to elections. In a lot of places they will lose. At that point they have to decide whether pragmatism or principles will win out the day.

A lot of Trumpists believe that Trumpism cannot fail; it can only be failed. It's hard to see how you can turn that ideology around; if they don't get their candidate elected, in their minds it will just mean they have more internal enemies to deal with.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:02 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure a lot of Trumpists believe much of anything about Trumpism.

I get a feeling a lot on MeFi and elsewhere---that people tacitly assume that members of "the other side" have individually worked hard to settle on a well-elaborated system of beliefs and opinions that amount to a fairly complete view on policy and government. I see little evidence of this kind of rigor.

Trumpism is popular because Trumpism feels good to Trumpists. The red hats and slogans and chanting come first; the policies and their justifications are always post-hoc, and this is so transparent in interviews and vox-pops. Trumpism an emotional bond---it's fashion, woven from old white supremacist grievance and entitlement, which our racist society has conditioned itself to approve of in a knee-jerk way.

It's an effective trick, but there are lots of other tricks, too. I think you can start to fight emotion with emotion and you can start to fight fashion with fashion, and that no current trend is as hard and fast as we tend to assume. (Never underestimate the withering power of your own project seeming unpopular---why is the fizzled Tulsa rally literally the only time we've seen Trump look sad on camera? He understands the stakes.)

Still, Democrats don't seem to have the first idea of how to prosecute either fight. The Lincoln Project has the skill, and this makes the difference. We need more propaganda as the broadcast seeds of progressive policies, not just as a source of anti-Trump shade. You don't need people to complete an associate's degree in being a Democrat in order for their votes to count in November---grabbing them by the gut is a good first step, and the chautauquas can come afterward.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 7:19 AM on July 15 [15 favorites]


The Trumpist coalition is not going to fall instantly.

Considering when citations of what a Trumpist is includes boogaloo base or christofascist the kind of people who are into christ or wear flowered shirts with tactical gear were parts of previous group branding that existed before what now is called Trumpist so they are going to presist beyond Donald Trump as the groups existed before, say, REX-84.

The Trumpist "Drain the Swamp" attitude is going to be opposed to TLP people as what's called a swamp supports the biodiversity of TLP people.

The above Trumpist classes have a strong streak of distrust of government and when government don't wear a mask and later Fauci said US government held off promoting face masks because it knew shortages were so bad that even doctors couldn't get enough the distrust is not going to just go away. The Drain the Swamp slogan and the citing of the lies of Bush the 2nd WRT Iraq to Jeb! are what bring many Trumpists to his table and without honesty from the halls of power those class of Trumpists are not going to just go away.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:31 AM on July 15


Some of them genuinely don’t like him.

It's clear that virtually the entire establishment - and by that I mean members of Congress, professional staff, his appointees - absolutely despise the man.

They support him only out of fear of the voters, many of whom do adore him.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:33 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Here's a good example of Alabama Democrats knowing how to talk to other Alabamans. Will it work? Probably not in this particular race; it's an uphill battle. But it took the SEC to convince Mississippi to change its flag.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:22 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


As a resident of a pretty staunchly red state, If state democrats knew how to effectively talk to republicans, they wouldn’t lose so consistently save a black swan event like Roy Moore.
posted by Selena777 at 9:02 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Trumpism is popular because Trumpism feels good to Trumpists. The red hats and slogans and chanting come first; the policies and their justifications are always post-hoc, and this is so transparent in interviews and vox-pops.

and they take delight in the outrage they get from us lib'ral leftie cappuccino drinking types (whatever they dismiss us as). Whatever dis-informed slop of words may be passing for Trumpism on any given day -- the fact that it pisses we the enemy off becomes proof of its veracity.
posted by philip-random at 9:15 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure a lot of Trumpists believe much of anything about Trumpism.

I'm pretty sure they don't believe any of the putative tenets of Trumpism. They just like being what they think is individualists opposed to the people they think are trying to restrict their freedom to be jerks. The real Trumpism is of course entirely whatever makes Trump feel good about himself, and everything is all about him. This explains how he and his devotees can claim with straight faces that the Coronavirus is a plot to harm his re-election campaign.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:33 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


I think they might not be kidding about the hating brown immigrants thing.
posted by Selena777 at 10:01 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Sure. That's part of their freedom to be jerks.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:29 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


and as soon as trump is gone we have to do everything in our power to undermine and destroy the biden administration

Umm... how about no?

American presidential politics is a binary game. Destroying and undermining Biden won't get you a magic socialist pony. It will get you a Republican.

What I've been reminding people since the thick of the 2016 campaign season is: "Things can always get worse." Turned up your nose at HRC? The alternative to HRC wasn't Bernie, it was Trump. Same this time around. There is no revolution coming. There is the slow hard slog of incremental change.

Don't think I find that an attractive proposition. I don't! But wishing otherwise won't make it so. There aren't enough socialists in America to elect a socialist president. So let's look soberly at the reality that is clearly in front of us -- that even mildly progressive policies are only instituted when there is a left/center-left coalition in power -- and vote for the less sh*tty choice. And then, rather than "destroy and undermine" him, let's try engaging and pressuring him.

Politicians pay more attention to people who do vote than to people who don't.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:20 PM on July 15 [25 favorites]


P.S. Of course I don't trust the Lincoln Project folks as far as I could throw them, but I commend them for the damn fine work they're doing right now. "Names" is a masterpiece of political advertising.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:21 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Depending on who Biden picks for vice president, I could see pressuring him to retire early, or resign over things that previous presidents have not resigned over. I think there's a difference between working to destroy him and working to force a better alternative.

But more important is working toward election reform, including ranked choices and the National Popular Vote compact. The two-party system is a big part of the problem, and that's just baked into the way we vote.
posted by rikschell at 6:49 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


From now on, I'm taking my cues from Who albums

Can I offer you a Bevis Frond track as well?
posted by flabdablet at 7:28 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


lololol the president of the united states just fired brad parscale, former campaign manager and breakout star of the whispers ad.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:17 PM on July 15 [13 favorites]


I see a lot of mistrust of TLP, and also of leftists. I have to tell you, in so much as it has a future, TLP is the future of the Democratic party. If the Dems and TLP don't make common cause, it'll be the dems that end up in the dustbin of history. I mean they've shown time and again that progressive policies are convenient ways to get some votes, and then bait and switch when it comes time to pay up. Of course they mistrust the left. they've fucked 'em so hard for so long, even the most blindly optimistic leftists can't believe their bullshit anymore. Anyone on the left not actively shopping for a better offer, is just waiting for that better offer to find them.
So yes I'll happily enjoy TLP's attack ads. I'll also vote for Biden. I won't hold my breath waiting for camps to close (these things take time), or Trump to go to jail (the wheels if justice and all that). I won't be waiting for the dems to try changing anything other than some party affiliations of some repubs.
But no, go on and tell me how I've got it all wrong, that it's thanks to the dems that we have all of these wonderful things like the ACA, and umm.. yeah that other thing... I can't remember it right now but it's really cool!
Oh let me help, closing the electoral college?
Police reform?
Loan forgiveness?
How about another covid check, or an actual workable plan for schools?
No?
yeah.
posted by evilDoug at 10:25 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


lololol the president of the united states just fired brad parscale,

Omg did it work? Did this actually work?
posted by like_neon at 3:27 AM on July 16 [8 favorites]


Oh let me help, closing the electoral college?
Police reform?
Loan forgiveness?
How about another covid check, or an actual workable plan for schools?
No?
yeah.


They haven't had that sort of power since 2008 and the electoral college will require either an amendment or enough states to enter the NPVIC.

What are the Democrats supposed to do? Magically get another two votes in the Senate and blow up the filibuster? There are so many bills like these on McConnell's desk and he's just letting them accumulate in his personal graveyard.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:29 AM on July 16 [7 favorites]


Dan Pfeiffer, former Obama campaign staffer, writes about the Lincoln Project for Crooked Media, The Lincoln Project: Friend, Foe, or Fraud?
Without getting into existential questions of unperceived existence, let me just say that it doesn’t matter how good an ad is if no one really sees it. For all of the attention and retweets, the Lincoln Project ads are not being seen by a lot of voters. According to Advertising Analytics, a firm that tracks ad spending, the Lincoln Project has spent about $2.5 million on presidential campaign ads. To put that number into perspective, since May 11 the Trump campaign has spent more than $31 million on television ads in battleground states. Priorities USA, the Democratic SuperPAC, has already more than $45 million this cycle in five battleground states.

Of the Lincoln Project’s $2.5 million, more than a quarter of it was spent in the Washington, DC, market presumably in the hope of catching the eye of a certain overly sensitive tweeter in the White House. The Lincoln Project has also bought time in South Dakota, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire to run ads when Trump is in town. New Hampshire, which Trump barely lost in 2016, is potentially a swing state, Oklahoma and South Dakota not so much.

State / Spending through July 7
NC / $278,340
WI / $394,681
MI / $294,808
PA / $271,532
IA / $68,884
OH / $174,190
FL / $115,726
NH / $88,740

As of last week, the Lincoln Project was not on the air in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, or Florida. When they have aired TV ads in those key states, the ads were only up for a few days at most. These are what political professionals call “show buys,” designed to get press attention without spending enough money to affect the election directly. The ad with the former Navy SEAL that many have lauded as the Lincoln Project’s most effective spot ran for one day on cable television. Unless you are on Twitter or watching Fox in whatever media market the president happens to be in, you are unlikely to see the ads that have caused so many Democrats to salivate.
posted by gladly at 8:47 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


dan pfeiffer, former obama campaign staffer, is willfully missing the point. these ads aren't show buys and it's pointless to show them in battleground states. the lincoln project aren't running political ads. they're stalking a moron and gaslighting the fuck out of him.

and also each election cycle television viewership matters less and less, cause the television viewers are all dying of old age.

hopefully someday someone who understands media warfare will hijack the democratic party and fire all the old consultants. i mean, provided the united states under its current mode of government lasts another election cycle which like that's an iffy proposition
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:58 AM on July 16 [13 favorites]


pfeiffer article:
The vast majority of ads the Lincoln Project has released thus far are unlikely to move a single voter, and that isn’t what they were designed to do. Some of their ads are so extremely online that you need an advanced degree in political Twitter to even understand them.
summary: these ads are really awesome at what they're designed to do but let's pretend that doesn't matter.
There is also some strategic value in trolling Trump. The Lincoln Project took off when Trump had a Twitter tantrum about one of their ads in early May. While Trump taking grave offense at some perceived slight and then stumbling into an obvious political trap is not new, doing so in the middle of a once-a-century pandemic is very politically damaging.
summary: these ads are really awesome at what they're designed to do and what they're designed to do is important, but let's pretend that doesn't matter.
Liberal proponents of the Lincoln Project tend to applaud them for two things: speed and virality. These two things are related and should not be discounted.
summary: these ads are really awesome at what they're designed to do and what they're designed to do is important, but let's pretend that doesn't matter.
Support the Lincoln Project if you want but know what you are supporting. And, oh yeah, make sure you cancel your recurring donation before the Lincoln Project starts running ads attacking President Biden for raising taxes on oil companies in early 2021.
summary: ... oh god i can't even summarize this one.

good lord people don't give money to the lincoln project that is stupid.

throw this pfeiffer article on the "liberals approaching the point and then running away from it" pile. or put it in the dustbin of history, right next to everything bob shrum ever said or did.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:04 AM on July 16 [4 favorites]



and also each election cycle television viewership matters less and less, cause the television viewers are all dying of old age.


FTA Dan Pfieffer:
Pundits and partisans are not the targets. Persuading people to vote who would not otherwise do so is the only purpose of a political ad.

Political punditing is very weird. I guess I don't live in a 'battle ground' state, because I've not seen one Trump ad on regular tv. I have seen them on OAN, where they run constantly. Why would Trump run election ad buys on a network that specifically supports him and him alone all day long? How many people are so in the tank for Donald Trump they'd watch news justifying his every action all day long but not go vote for him? Is it even double digits? Or is this yet another demonstration of how far out of touch liberal pundits are?
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:18 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


god that pfieffer thing gets under my skin / fills me with despair about the direction of the biden campaign.* it's not 2008 anymore. it's not 2008 and it's not 2012 and it's not even 2016. i didn't even notice that line that the_vegetables quoted. like, what? persuading people to vote who would not otherwise do so is the only purpose of a political ad? citation needed, bro.

*: okay it doesn't fill me with all that much extra despair, though, since it seems that at least someone in the biden campaign understands that their job is to keep biden out of the public eye & let everyone pretend that biden really is just an empty space with a (d) beside it. or like that he's diamond joe from the onion.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:24 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


the lincoln project aren't running political ads. they're stalking a moron and gaslighting the fuck out of him.

repeated for emphasis. And, if you missed it, the whispers ad presented as evidence.
posted by philip-random at 9:29 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


Why would Trump run election ad buys on a network that specifically supports him and him alone all day long?

More of the right-wing grifter ecosystem, I figure - Parscale & whoever are going to have to do something after the election (or in Pascale's case maybe even earlier hahahahaha), and stuffing money into OAN's pockets is the setup for a quid pro quo for a consultant's position somewhere post-2020.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:42 AM on July 16 [4 favorites]


That's not what gaslighting is. They aren't trying to deceive Trump, they're beating him over the head with the truth.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:51 AM on July 16 [7 favorites]


Why is tv ad spend the biggest marker of their work? I just checked and their top 15 videos in their youtube channel have a combine 52 million views. Their next ten popular videos each have more than a million views each. I have definitely seen Lincoln Project ads on facebook.

Another sign of their success is a National Review writer trying to suggest that really funded by democrats and those with Russian entanglements.
posted by mmascolino at 10:53 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]




More of the right-wing grifter ecosystem, I figure

That would be my guess as well, plus the fact that they are slightly subsidizing a network (via ad-buys) that spends 24 hours a day defending them and picking fights with liberals. It's a good deal if you can get it.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:04 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Trump team launches a sweeping loyalty test to shore up its defenses: Political appointees across the Trump administration are being subjected to unusual interviews to gauge their support for the president.

This is an article worth reading, but the word "unusual" oversold the premise for me. I was expecting the interviewers to demand that the appointees give impromptu defenses for, say, Trump repeating the Fourteen Words or Ivanka designing a line of puppy-fur coats.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:33 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I wonder what it must be like to have this 30-year-old in a skinny tie, whose only lifetime achievement was playing college football before becoming Trump's personal valet, come into your government office and interrogate you on your loyalty. People who have been working in politics since before Johnny McEntee was born being asked to bend the knee. Why do these people debase themselves to work for Trump?
posted by JackFlash at 1:50 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


> Why do these people debase themselves to work for Trump?

because (to quote the whispers ad) they want to get one last big payday before trump goes down.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:09 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


The fact that 15 different people leaked about the leak-prevention efforts is just fun.
posted by Selena777 at 6:37 PM on July 16 [6 favorites]


Why do these people debase themselves to work for Trump?

So if I understand how this works, at the lowest level of "appointee" in a lot of the technical/expert agencies you get positions that might be filled by career civil servants or experts. Fauci is an example (though I'm not sure he's at the lowest appointment level).

So if you're offered a job and it's probably take it, or give up on your career path. And unlike someone in, say, Trump's Department of Homeland Security you could still legitimately feel you'll make the world a better place. I do wish politico was clearer on what types of these positions were.

And while I didn't just mean STEM when I said technical, I'll point out that at least within STEM you'd make far more money if you left government. So it may be misguided, or vanity driven, but it's not a cash grab.
posted by mark k at 7:18 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


> As much as Roosevelt and the union leaders were able to accomplish before the coup was attempted and the courts ruled against them and the war, we might be able to accomplish more because they might be on our side for once.

The Supreme Court Just Stopped 1 Million Floridians From Voting in November - "The justices refused to halt Florida's poll tax on ex-felons—and didn't bother explaining why."
Hinkle issued an injunction allowing ex-felons to vote unless the state could prove they had outstanding court debt. He also let them vote if the state somehow made this showing, but ex-felons lacked the means to pay off that debt.

On July 1, however, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals swept away Hinkle’s injunction in an extremely rare and suspicious maneuver. (Because President Donald Trump flipped the 11th Circuit in 2019, it now contains a conservative majority hostile toward voting rights.) The court immediately took the case en banc, bypassing the usual three-judge panel; a progressive panel might have upheld the rights of formerly incarcerated Floridian voters. (A three-judge panel had upheld Hinkle’s earlier decision blocking the law before trial.) Moreover, three Trump appointees on the 11th Circuit have serious conflicts of interest. Two, Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa, sat on the Florida Supreme Court when it heard arguments in a case about this exact law. Another, Andrew Brasher, defended an Alabama law that is extremely similar to Florida’s and raises identical constitutional questions. Luck and Lagoa already participated in the decision to lift Hinkle’s injunction. Brasher was too new to participate—he assumed office a day prior—but has given no indication that he will recuse from the case moving forward...

Sotomayor noted that the court had prevented “thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor.” Indeed, “nearly a million” people will be “barred from voting because of Florida’s alleged wealth discrimination, inscrutable processes, and tax.”

Sotomayor pointed out that, due to Hinkle’s rulings, Florida’s “voter paywall” has been on hold for nearly a year. During that period, “tens of thousands of Floridians with felony convictions have already registered to vote.” After all, the courts had said they could. Now these individuals “will have no notice of their potential ineligibility or the resulting criminal prosecution they may face for failing to follow the abrupt change in law.” ...at this point, the justices are not just condoning voter suppression. They are actively facilitating it.
posted by kliuless at 10:43 PM on July 16 [11 favorites]


Once those in power start being this blatant, the going gets a whole lot tougher. :(
posted by Pouteria at 1:41 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Shots across the bow in Ohio: TLP & RVAT announce "Operation Grant." Wherein Bill Kristol & John Weaver announce via an op-ed in the web version of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper that they're kicking off a targeted campaign in Ohio (which went 8 points to Trump in '16 but where Biden and Trump are now essentially tied.)
posted by soundguy99 at 6:31 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


This ad popped up on my facebook feed. It's got a particularly simple tagline:

Trump’s campaign manager is a felon.
His deputy campaign manager is a felon.
His national security advisor is a felon.
His foreign policy advisor is a felon.
His personal lawyer is a felon.
His long time advisor is a felon.

Enjoyable.
posted by skewed at 7:43 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Washington Post interview with Lincoln Project co-founder

"The group is preparing to vehemently oppose efforts by GOP senators to obstruct and stymie Biden’s agenda... One test is whether the Lincoln Project is breaking permanently with the GOP embrace of voter suppression, gerrymandering and other anti-democratic tactics. Pressed on this, Weaver insisted the break is genuine."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:09 AM on July 20 [3 favorites]


“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits."

which is to say, they can only demonstrate by actions that they're not the same old Republicans, that they believe in America as a democractic state that welcomes all people - we can disagree about which way we want to benefit the people but there's a certain bare minimum they need to step up to
posted by kokaku at 12:18 PM on July 20 [7 favorites]


What the fuck, TLP, it's been like 24 hour, where is the PersonWomanManCameraTV ad?
posted by skewed at 11:23 AM on July 24


What the fuck, TLP, it's been like 24 hour, where is the PersonWomanManCameraTV ad?

Mark Hamill
@HamillHimself

Nice job, Dora! So glad to know you are well & haven't been detained in a cage.

posted by mikelieman at 1:30 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Jimmy Fallon made that video. Who the Lincoln Project credit in a reply instead of the tweet. So they still a bit trashy. But love to see them tweeting it at all.
posted by like_neon at 11:18 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


"This band of anti-Trump conservatives may be viral hitmakers for the moment, but they have nothing to offer America’s future":
The Lincoln Project’s critics on the left are correct about the GOP. The Republican Party is a purely malignant force in American politics and American life. It has no positive contributions to make, its major policies are not supported by the majority of the American public, and it would not be as powerful or as radical as it is were it not for the advantages the design of the federal government grants to conservatives. Those advantages, left in place, will prevent Democrats from meaningfully addressing our most significant problems as a country and society, including an environmental crisis that threatens all civilization. Much of what ails us cannot be fixed without structurally disempowering the GOP as an institution—its incapacitation is the only plausible and morally defensible remedy to polarization and partisan gridlock we have. Many progressives now take all these things for granted. But the leaders of the Democratic Party, the political press, and most voters, including most Democratic voters, simply do not—even now, as over a hundred thousand Americans have been killed by the coronavirus thanks, in large part, to the arrogance and stupidity of Republican policymakers.

If most non-Republicans remain insufficiently hostile towards the GOP as a whole in the post-Trump era, that will have much less to do with the Lincoln Project and the activities of particular NeverTrump Republicans now than the influence of generations of propaganda about how politics ought to work and the structural factors on which the Republican Party depends. None of that will be undone by tweets about how the Lincoln Project is a grift: At some point, progressives will need to take advantage of all we’ve seen pressure campaigns can do these past few weeks to convince Democratic leaders and ordinary voters to think as they do about Republicans and the implications of sharing power with them.
posted by Ouverture at 4:22 PM on July 27


New ad from the Lincoln Project: Nationalist Geographic examines Impotus Americanus.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:34 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Deutsche Welle DocFilm: "Bosom Bullies - Trump and Putin, Part 1"
(direct .mp4 link)
posted by XMLicious at 10:40 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo had an interview with Tom Nichols, noted anti-Trump conservative and senior adviser to TLP. It's paywalled so I won't link but I will recommend to any Prime subscribers.

I certainly disagree with Nichols on a lot of stuff but he seemed absolutely sincere in his contempt for Trump, for the Trump enablers in the Republican party, and in his "burn it down" (his words) approach to the Republican party. There's no question he'll never be a progressive, or even a Democrat, but so what? He says he doesn't give pig's ear about internal Democratic factions--he's not trying to co-opt Biden and basically thinks Democrats will be dealing with their own problems anyway. He expects Trump to lose, and a big fight among conservatives that will take his attention.

There's certainly a huge gap between the self style "conservatism" of Nichols and the Fox News viewers' partisanship. I'm not embracing either of them but I know who I want in the opposition. The problem with this is that I think Nichols is too optimistic--AFAICT the constituency that matches his preferences is maybe 2% of the electorate.
posted by mark k at 11:13 AM on August 4


the constituency that matches [Tom Nichols'] preferences is maybe 2% of the electorate.

That has always been a characteristic of reactionary political groups, even more so than in politics generally. I mean, it's quite typical for party leaders to have be unrepresentative of their movement as a whole, but people promoting a "return" to conservative values usually imagine that they're a natural aristocracy and that hoi polloi will appreciate being directed by the deep thinkers of the party.

What "conservative" Republicans apparently don't recognise is that their problem isn't that they've been taken over by a demagogue (the usual failure mode for parties with unrepresentative leaders) but that nothing has really changed: the Republicans just swallowed their own rhetoric and started behaving the way their own opinion leaders have been advocating for decades. And it worked, mostly: that the results have been awful aren't some failure of implementation; they are the natural result of their policies.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:50 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


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