New documentary gives us insight into the hypocrisy of the Lincoln Project

Thing is, she’s right – Trump spawned Dobbswho killed deer – and its logic underscores the limits of the lofty ambitions and radical rhetoric of the Lincoln Project. “Today, the dividing line in American politics is not between conservatives and liberals. It’s between those who believe in democracy and those who kill it,” intones the voiceover of an ad from the Lincoln Project of 2020, but that’s not entirely true Yes, some of Trump’s votes in 2020 were cast by QAnon conspiracy theorists and Capitol storms and people so steeped in the Trumpworld media bubble that they couldn’t tell truth from fiction. But some were chosen by problem-driven voters who made what they saw as a practical calculation. It’s the same reason so many members of Congress who are less steeped in conspiracy than Marjorie Taylor Greene have backed Trump, and why all the fact-checking, social media rants and cleverly crafted propaganda will only go so far. ectors see who Trump is. They have integrated it into their vision of the world. And they’re going to vote for him anyway.

Worrying about the future of democracy is a luxury, after all — something you can dwell on when you’re not driven by a religious mission or worried about the source of your next paycheck. It is also a dividing line in American politics. And as “The Lincoln Project” shows us, political consultants can forget which side they are on. As the series follows the Super PAC executives, on Zoom and at their headquarters in the ski resort of Park City, Utah, we see gorgeous vistas, an impressive lineup of Patagonia jackets, and a slew of beguiling interiors. spread in To live in. But the founders of The Lincoln Project also remember the days, as they built their careers, when they made their own moral calculations.

In truth, the mindset of an end-driven Trump voter is not so different from the mindset of a political operative: a mix of lofty principles and ruthless practicality. “You can streamline working with and for contestants … who you largely agree with, even if you find some of this stuff objectionable,” Lincoln Project co-founder Ron Steslow told the filmmakers. Stevens remembers, with a twinge of heart, how he played the race card in the countryside, decades before Trump did it so effectively. “You’re able to convince yourself that the danger on the other side is greater than the flaws on the side you’re on,” Stevens says. “We’ve played on the dark side too much, but I think almost everyone does.”

“The Lincoln Project” offers a rare window into this world of idealism and self-sacrifice; its employees are not publicity shy, and co-directors Fisher Stevens and Karim Amer have access to meetings, planning sessions, conspiratorial phone calls and long philosophy sessions. (If the documentary lasts a little too long, it’s probably because the monologues are intoxicating, like patriotic candy sprinkled with F-bombs.) The story turns at some point into a fratricidal drama – egos that clash face off, secret deals, ugly accusations, a mind-blowing sex scene. harassment complaint – it’s juicy enough to rival HBO’s fictional “Succession” series, in which Fisher Stevens also stars.

And the series suggests one reason why these battles for money and power seem inevitable: success in this field has made some people very, very wealthy. Some Lincoln Project founders seem at least slightly conflicted that the work that brought them so much material wealth also laid the foundation for Trump’s rise. “Does making money with a scandal machine help democracy or hurt it? And after 30 years, does it exhaust you? Fuck yeah,” co-founder Mike Madrid says as he paints what looks like a mural in his Sacramento home.

But wealth does more than weigh on the conscience of these people. It creates a blind spot, a disconnect between the heady thinking of the political elite and the way many voters actually behave. Many stories from Red State America – including Farah Stockman’s recent book American made, about Indiana workers displaced when their bearing factory moves to Mexico – show how macro-level political and economic decisions, from abstractions for graduates, can be real disasters for workers on the front lines. And people will vote for their own survival before they vote for that of the nation.

People who choose to vote for Trump are taking a calculated risk — assuming that whatever democratic norms are violated on the way to a given political goal, the country will be fine. Lenti’s mother offers some potential reasons. On the one hand, thanks in part to decades of negative publicity produced by countless consultants, she is cynical about every politician; in this Zoom call, she explains that she does not trust Joe Biden either. (“I wouldn’t want my daughter to date them, to be perfectly honest,” is how she puts it.) At the same time, she’s willing to believe the best of people, even Donald Trump. “Let’s understand that you know, he can change too,” she told her daughter. It’s a generous prospect, though the facts suggest otherwise, and the documentary doesn’t capture what she thought about January 6. But the facts do not prevent us from telling ourselves stories. And as the founders of The Lincoln Project show, there’s always another chance to cleanse your soul.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button