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The strategy behind the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump PAC

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The New York Times
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For context: Democratic PAC American Bridge has spent $30 million on media so far; Priorities USA, another Democratic PAC, is spending $2 million per week in battleground states.We also know their ads — often made using news footage and turned around at internet speed — are consistently popular on Twitter, where they often rack up millions of views along with commentary from frustrated Democrats who want to know why their own party can’t do the same thing.Which gets at a significant part of the Lincoln Project’s appeal, at least among the extremely online set. You can fill in the ellipsis … if Biden wins, and the Lincoln Project gets credit for some of that, then maybe the future of political messaging and elections looks a lot like what we saw Trump harness in four years ago — except now, everyone’s doing it.You can see it most strikingly in the group’s ad mocking Trump’s halting walk after an appearance at West Point, a direct and intentional echo of Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton’s supposed frailty four years ago.Is the President of the United States physically well? “I think they are not as helpful as a lot of people think.”Pfeiffer’s argument, echoed by other Democrats who are working on this year’s race, is that the Lincoln Project’s most barbed ads, which tend to generate the most attention and virality, are the ones least likely to convert an undecided voter or a wavering Trump voter to move over to Biden — if they see them at all. “But they have to introduce new information to people, and they have to reach people where they are.”Democratic operatives I’ve talked to who think the Lincoln Project is overhyped often point to Republican Voters Against Trump, another PAC with — just like the name says — the same mission statement as the Lincoln Project. “This is not an accident that they’re not talking to voters,” says another Democratic campaigner.Other Democrats simply worry that money the Lincoln Project rounds up to defeat Trump will eventually be used for something else — maybe even for actual Republicans at some point. They argue that well-meaning donors who think they’re helping an anti-Trump group don’t realize they’re helping the people who helped create Trump, by creating a political climate that made his election possible.We’ll have a better idea of what the Lincoln Project really wants to do in the next few months. They’ve also said they intend to ramp up their ad buys in the coming months and spend “tens of millions of dollars” on ads aimed at both Trump and other Republicans in swing states; this week the group announced a $1 million buy targeted in Ohio and three other swing states.And if that’s going to happen, they’ll need to raise more money, which means that some of those viral videos may serve a purpose, after all.“If they can raise enough money against the buzz they create, they can raise enough money to run a very targeted campaign,” says Mo Elleithee, a longtime Democratic strategist who runs Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

As said here by Peter Kafka