Southern Utah University’s Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. Speaker Series hosted co-founder of The Lincoln Project Reed Galen on Nov. 18 at The Hunter Conference Center. Director of SUU’s A.P.E.X. events Dr. Lynn Varten and Director of The Michael O’Leavitt Center Mary Bennett moderated the event. The goal of the event was to inform students about the Republican political action committee that fought against Donald Trump during the 2020 election.
The Lincoln Project was established in 2019 with two stated objectives: Defeat Former President Donald Trump and bring down Trumpism all together. Since its founding, the organization collected over $100 million in grassroots support according to Galen.
When the organization first launched, it collected a few thousand dollars in donations per month but after their Mourning in America Ad, donations poured in by the millions especially after Donald Trump tweeted at the organization in outrage.
With the raised funds, The Lincoln Project set out to oust the sitting president during the 2020 election against Joe Biden. Galen stated that The Lincoln Project took their combined 200 years of political experience and turned them against Donald Trump.
“We believe [Donald Trump] represented an existential threat to democracy,” Reed said. “He said the most outrageous things and tapped into a niche in the Republican Party that had lost faith in the political process.”
Reed explained that the goal of The Lincoln Project was to use the group’s skills that they learned through years of Republican political participation and turn them on Trump. The objective was to focus Trump’s attention on the political attack ads to distract him from campaigning against Joe Biden.
“We took our tactics we learned as Republicans and used them to dismantle a Republican candidate,” Reed said.
The organization has produced more than 500 political campaigns. Reed emphasized that each advertisement strove to evoke an emotional response from its audience through assertion and conviction. According to Reed, The Lincoln Project specifically targeted Donald Trump as its audience of one.
“Donald Trump is a homebody that doesn’t like to travel and doesn’t have any buddies,” Reed said. “Last year, we knew he would be at home in the white house watching Fox News so we targeted him there.”
Reed believed that Trump and his followers represented an authoritarian and autocratic threat to the United States’ democracy. Trumpisim, he stated, has caused the Republican party to cease being a pro-democracy party since mainstream members of congress, the senate and those running for office run on the basis of Trump’s claims of an illegitimate election.
“Trump no longer represented traditional conservative values but rather self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment,” Reed said. “Trump came in and said the most outrageous things which moved the central line of the Republican party closer to the radical fringes.”
Article and Photo by: Danielle Meuret