by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Lincoln Project is defending a multimillion-dollar campaign to deliver Senate control to the Democrats, arguing that rebuilding the Republican Party is impossible without ditching President Trump’s “enablers” in Congress.
Installing a Democratic majority in the Senate, especially with Joe Biden in the White House, could lead to elimination of the legislative filibuster, facilitating enactment of a litany of long-sought-after liberal priorities. But GOP insiders and former Republicans behind the Lincoln Project, a Never Trump group, say the rewards outweigh the risks, insisting that cleansing “Trumpism” from the party requires an unambiguous message that any affiliation with the president is a losing proposition.
“We’ve always been clear about our mission: Removing Trump, Trumpism and his enablers,” Lincoln Project spokesman Keith Edwards said Monday. “These people have violated every letter of their oaths, every iota of their consciences.”
But other Never Trump Republicans are critical of this effort. They describe the Lincoln Project’s strategy as a “burned to the ground” approach that appears disinterested in the Republican Party’s future. And they admonish the group for being cavalier about the ramifications of putting Democrats in charge of the House, White House, the Senate, and by extension, Supreme Court nominations.
“I sharply part with Lincoln going after GOP Senators,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist in California who opposes the president. …
… The Lincoln Project is targeting at least six Republican Senate incumbents with attack ads and other campaign activities aiming to boost their Democratic challengers — more than enough to upend the GOP’s three-seat majority. Among them are Republicans such as Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado who, philosophically and temperamentally, are the antithesis of Trump and represent the sort of conservative politician that Lincoln Project operatives claim they want back in charge of the party.