Heard of the Lincoln Project?

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President Trump’s impeachment trial promises to end in acquittal, given the high bar of 67 senators needed to remove him from office. Yet, several conservative commentators and lawyers are working to identify an alternative to Donald Trump, even among Democratic candidates.

Known formally as the Lincoln Project, it comes on the heels of severe criticism of the president’s statements and actions from well-known conservative writers like David Brooks and Bret Stephens of the New York Times and Michael Gerson and Max Boot of the Washington Post. For president, Stephens supports former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

The lead organizers of the Project are George T. Conway III, the husband of White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Republican political strategist Rick Wilson, who has just published a new book titled “Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump and Democrats from Themselves.” 

The Conways are not the only celebrated political couples who seem to get along despite holding very different views. In 1993, Republican strategist and onetime advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney Mary Matalin married Democratic tactician James Carville, who helped Bill Clinton win the presidency. We can only imagine what their respective dinner conversations are like.

Although President Trump’s approval ratings have continually remained in the low 40s, among Republicans they stand at a whopping 90 percent. In a December New York Times op-ed, four of the Lincoln Project organizers revealed their goal of not only unseating President Trump but maintaining Democratic control of the House, and taking control of the Senate.

They wrote that the president’s “vision is limited to what immediately faces him — the problems and risks he chronically brings upon himself and for which others, from countless contractors and companies to the American people, ultimately bear the heaviest burden. But this president’s actions are possible only with the craven acquiescence of congressional Republicans. They have done no less than abdicate their Article I responsibilities.”

The group takes its name from the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who, they say, “understood the necessity of not just saving the Union, but also of knitting the nation back together spiritually as well as politically. But those wounds can be bound up only once the threat has been defeated. So, too, will our country have to knit itself back together after the scourge of Trumpism has been overcome.”

Another co-founder is Jennifer Horn, former head of the New Hampshire Republican Party, who announced her chief target is Senator Susan Collins of Maine. In addition, the group has focused on the defeat of Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, saying, “Coloradans, and Americans, deserve leaders who will do what’s best for their constituents, who will keep their promises to voters and who will put country over party. So far, Senator Gardner has failed at each of those.”

Wilson, whose book title refers to Trump as the devil, warns Democrats that if their presidential candidate promotes far-left proposals, they will lose. He told the Guardian in January that while some ideas may attract voters in Boston and San Francisco, they will not work in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Florida. 

He points to Medicare for all, bans on automatic weapons, and taxpayer funding of third-trimester abortions as causing some residents in those states to say, “Wait, what?!” Interestingly, he likes Joe Biden best, saying, “I am putting my ideological priors and my preferences aside, because I think that Donald Trump is an existential threat to the republic. I’ll do anything I can to help ensure that he is not president for another four years.” He did not mention other moderate Democrats, like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

The Lincoln Project’s opening salvo is directed at the evangelical community. The claim is that Trump has duped it into believing that God has chosen him to lead the U.S. The project has created an online video, “MAGA Church,” that highlights “the hypocrisy of those who claim the mantle of Jesus while supporting or ignoring President Donald Trump’s immoral acts.”

Although modern Republicans have long attached their star to Lincoln, in the 19th century, they were the leading abolitionists, who promoted the passage of the three great post–Civil War amendments: the 13th, outlawing slavery; the 14th, with its equal protection clause; and the 15th, guaranteeing the right to vote to all citizens. Democrats at the time were pro-slavery, and fought against these amendments and everything the Republicans promoted.

This was why and how Andrew Johnson, a former Tennessee Democratic governor and senator, in 1868 became the first president to be impeached. He vetoed every reconstruction act Congress passed, and fired the secretary of war in defiance of the Tenure in Office Act, enacted a year earlier, again over his veto. The Senate acquitted him by just one vote. In 1926, the Supreme Court invalidated the Tenure in Office Act as unconstitutional. 

The two parties switched sides, beginning with the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Democrats support civil rights and greater equality, while Republicans advocate tax cuts and huge military increases. The co-founders of the Lincoln Project are attempting to right the ship. Whether they are successful will depend on the response of American voters.

 

Jack Fruchtman, who taught constitutional law and politics for more than 40 years, lives part-time in Aquinnah.

18 COMMENTS

  1. If we, in fact, are living in a post-Christian America, and we are, then as an evangelical I am living in the first century, and I’m allowed to vote for the emperor. I have a choice between one pagan emperor and another pagan emperor. One hates my faith, throws my fellow Christians to the lions and ruins the economy. The other one leaves me alone, shows my faith some respect and makes the economy grow. Which pagan Emperor do you think I’m going to vote for? No hypocrisy there.
    Claiming that ”Trump has duped evangelicals into believing that he was Chosen by God to lead them” is patent nonsense. Trump doesnt understand Christianity but he fears God and he respects believers. He has been very transparent about that. On the contrary, it is evangelicals who believe God anointed Trump just as he anointed many fallen leaders throughout history. The so-called Lincoln Project is merely wishing one can undo the will of 63 million Americans because some elites dont like Trump. Good luck with that. The ship doesnt need righting.

  2. Andrew- I am curious as to which candidate you think “hates [your] faith, throws [your] fellow Christians to the lions and ruins the economy.”
    In the 50 years or so I have been following the American political system, I have never heard a single candidate for any office either state or federal that had stated that they hate christianity.
    Even I don’t hate christianity. I think it is a completely fictitious narrative, and some deranged individuals misinterpret it’s teachings and commit atrocities in the name of Jesus, but I certainly don’t “hate” the faith. What does that mean anyway ?
    As for trump, while I will never know what goes on inside that head, I have seen no empirical evidence that he “fears god” or respects anyone.
    He certainly does not respect the people of the Muslim faith. I also think that it is a completely fictitious narrative, and some deranged individuals misinterpret it’s teachings and commit atrocities in the name of Allah.
    You throw the word “hate” around quite a bit. You regularly accuse others of it, but never cop to your own. You claim to be of the party of personal responsibility.
    Take some responsibility for what you say here.

    • Dondondon. Would you agree that many many people hate Trump and they never use the word “”hate””. For you to suggest that secular democrats don’t hate what evangelicals stand for is laughable. To state that one must use the word “” hate”” in order to legitimize animus toward a group is puerile. Your disdain for Christian faith on these pages is well recognized.

      • “to suggest that secular democrats don’t hate what evangelicals stand for is laughable. ” Tragically, that chip is on your shoulder, not that of others. here As for trump, “Put not your faith in princes, as the son of man who has no savior.” (Ps. 146.3.)

        • I’m stuck on the “what evangelicals stand for” part. What do they stand for, besides their white, self-serving interests and wanting everyone to be just like them? Ew, is all I can think.

          • I should not have said, “wanting everyone to be just like them”. I should have said, “insisting everyone be just like them”. How many evangelicals leaders have damned all jews to hell? One recently did at a trump chanukah celebration! No joke!

    • sal·va·tion
      /salˈvāSH(ə)n/
      noun: salvation
      1.
      preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.
      “they try to sell it to us as economic salvation”
      2.
      THEOLOGY
      deliverance from sin and its consequences, believed by Christians to be brought about by faith in Christ.

      The “consquences” of sin, as any evangelical will tell you, is landing yourself in hell.
      Thank you, Andrew, for so clearly articulating why white, evangelical proselytizing is so arrogantly oppressive to non-christians. “WE only get our salvation from Jesus” is an ugly, and yes, hateful thing to say someone Muslim, Jewish, or otherwise not buying what you’ve been brainwashed into selling by a cult religion that is not mainstream Christian at all. There are plenty of Christian people on this page, and yet you alone repeatedly insult and damn anyone who does not accept your beliefs. Look at what you are doing, right here, right now, with your inappropriate proclamation about “salvation”. This is what evangelicals want in public schools, too, Christian indoctrination and the hell with everyone else, literally. Whoever those royal WEs are supposed to be, you puroposefully leave out a whole lot of good Americans when you continue to spew this divisive poison. Tell us again how victimized you are, as you push an “everyone but us is going to hell” agenda.

  3. Here is the link for the Lincoln Porject’s MAGA Church video again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoglNFN5-Js

    White evangelicals promote some outrageous yet sillly martyr-ish nonesense about themeselvs, all based in their own fear, fantasy, and self-interests. When was the last time here in America that white evangelicals were targeted by domestic or even foreign terrorists for being white and evangelical? (Wishing someone Happy Holidays instead of Merry Xmas does not count.) Andrew seems to think he is a victim in this country, the way jews, black and brown people, muslims and LGBTQ people are. Andrew wants us to believe he thinks he has a metaphorical choice only between two pagan emperors, one of whom will throw him to the lions or one that helps him amass more money. Lol.

    Evangelical suporters of trump are ALL duped by a conman, no question. Andrew says, “Trump doesnt understand Christianity but he fears God”. That, of course, is another ridiculous fantasy and it is false, but it helps the evangelical pretense that an evil, sinning conman was chosen by a politically biased, evangelical god that favors white christian evangelicals. If you watch the video linked above, you can hear Trump himself making a mockery of the evangelical belief that Trump “fears god”. When a man tells you something absolutely true about himself, that he does not ever turn to his god or anyone else’s god to ask for forgiveness for anything, ever, and you choose to pretend that he fears someone’s, anyone’s god, don’t be surprised when people have no respect for any of the oppressive nonsense espoused by evangelicals. The problem for white evangelicals is that, given their lack of respect for any group that doesn’t fall under their brainwashing control, as atheists, jews, real christians, and muslims do not, they fear the loss of predominance, privilege, and control and power. To advance their sick wish for control over women’s bodies, for instance, by wanting us to believe they care about abortion, they say that Trump (the one who doesn’t care about already-born, immigrant, brown babies) was chosen by (their) god to promote the anti-abortion and all the anti-women’s health care move, including controlling birth control and who pays for it. That makes a lot of senses, no? No, it does not. “God annointed Trump”? As Trump continues to promote policies that undermine the environmental health of the planet, I guess the evangelical god hates his own supposed creations. Well, if it only took him 6 days to create, what the heck.

  4. I agree with the opening sentence. I don’t think impeachment has a prayer of amounting to anything. Worse, I think it’s going to help Trump come election time.

  5. I have to remind myself that the “main players” in the comment section really only matter to a very small group on a very small publication on a very small island…its good that you have a place to spew your twisted comments….thank God.

    • The readership is only as small as a small mind is able to imagine. You’d be surprised at how many and who are reading the MVTIMES, not to mention recognition they are getting beyond the island. Not caring about what most matters to our country, and how our community feels about it and fits in, is your prerogative.

  6. 3D….you nailed it!! All the uber liberals on MV honestly think and believe that how MV goes, so goes the rest of the country. They’re deluded beyond reason! If I was Andrew, I’d make my comment and leave it at that. Because we all know that Donx3, Jackie, Vanadium, et al will respond with hate and vitriol and then wait anxiously for Andrew to respond so that they can respond, etc., etc., etc….it will drive them crazy if Andrew doesn’t respond to their inane comments…wait to see their response to this comment…again, great post.

    • tq– it seems there is a common bad habit among conservatives. trump , limbaugh, howie carr ,andrew, you, and  most radical right wing evangelical leaders and politicians will happily tell you all about what the liberals think and who and what they hate. They will label certain people communist and socialist, perhaps even traitors. Andrew particularly does it to me frequently. I often point out to him how wrong he is. He even once stated that I “admittedly hate America”.
      He thinks I favor “partial birth abortion, want to take away all our guns, think we should ban meat and air travel, want open borders, and various other pet issues that he wraps the flag and his god around.
      All of it is a flat  out lie,  He doesn’t know squat about what I think, but somehow feels free to slander me, and liberals in general any chance he gets. Conservatives seem to feel free to lie to their heart’s content about all these things, and seem to have no shame , even when confronted with actual facts reputing their lies.
      The last fallback of the conservative ideology is to blame others for what they are doing.
      On these pages I read lie after lie.  I read   hateful, racist, homophobic, xenophobic vitriol comments here all the time. And that’s with George doing his best to keep it at bay.
      Andrew was correct in his comment above when he stated “To state that one must use the word ” hate” in order to legitimize animus toward a group is puerile.”
      We had a clear example of the deep seated hate here a few years ago, when Obama arrived on the island for a vacation. That weekend , the automatic sensor for this publication was malfunctioning, and the editor of the newspaper was away. The unfiltered truth about the hate towards Obama and his entire race was laid bare for all of us to see.  
      It is not the liberals that hate, tq.  Read the transcript here.. It is clear.

    • I’d also like to add my ‘thank you’, to TQ for asking Andrew to be quiet, and to Andrew for saying he’ll try. I anxiously await the blessed silence.

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