One day before the impeachment of Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives, it became apparent that this decidedly strange time in America’s history was about to get a whole lot stranger. With the announcement by a handful of conservative Republican strategists, political consultants, and journalists that they’ve founded a political-action group called the Lincoln Project, Democrats and progressives who have been raising ever louder alarm bells about the dangers of another four years of Trumpian chaos, corruption, lawlessness, government destruction, and outright cruelty found themselves on the same side of the political divide with some of the most stalwart conservative Republican insiders.
The founders and backers of the Lincoln Project – attorney and spouse of Kellyanne, George Conway; former campaign chair for John McCain and consultant to George H.W. Bush, Steve Schmidt; and political strategist and journalist Rick Wilson, along with other prominent Republicans like Reed Galen, Jennifer Horn, Mike Madrid, Ron Steslow, and John Weaver – have declared that they intend to proudly lead the charge to oust via the ballot box in 2020 Trump and any Republican politicians who have thrown themselves onto the disgrace that is the Trump bus. And that’s not all. In a shocking coup-de-grace, the Lincoln Project manifesto declares in no uncertain terms that the goal of the group is to forge in this time of high stakes for American Democracy and the rule of law an alliance with Democrats who share with the Lincoln Project’s supporters a “fidelity to the Constitution.”
In an eloquent and brilliantly framed call to action, entitled “We Are Republicans and We Want Trump Defeated” that was published in The New York Times on December 17, 2019, George Conway, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, and Rick Wilson outline why they and other Republicans decided to take this extraordinary leap – side by side with like-minded Democrats and other patriots – to right the ship of state and obliterate the perilous constitutional maelstrom that Trump and Trumpism have precipitated.
Below is an excerpt from the editorial. Read it. Take heart. And share it with everyone and anyone you think might take a few moments to process the seriousness of what’s at stake.
“Patriotism and the survival of our nation in the face of the crimes, corruption and corrosive nature of Donald Trump are a higher calling than mere politics. As Americans, we must stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character.
That’s why we are announcing the Lincoln Project, an effort to highlight our country’s story and values, and its people’s sacrifices and obligations. This effort transcends partisanship and is dedicated to nothing less than preservation of the principles that so many have fought for, on battlefields far from home and within their own communities.
This effort asks all Americans of all places, creeds and ways of life to join in the seminal task of our generation: restoring to this nation leadership and governance that respects the rule of law, recognizes the dignity of all people and defends the Constitution and American values at home and abroad.
Over these next 11 months, our efforts will be dedicated to defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line. We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference. We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort.
The 2020 general election, by every indication, will be about persuasion, with turnout expected to be at record highs. Our efforts are aimed at persuading enough disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts to help ensure a victory in the Electoral College, and congressional majorities that don’t enable or abet Mr. Trump’s violations of the Constitution, even if that means Democratic control of the Senate and an expanded Democratic majority in the House.
The American presidency transcends the individuals who occupy the Oval Office. Their personalities become part of our national character. Their actions become our actions, for which we all share responsibility. Their willingness to act in accordance with the law and our tradition dictates how current and future leaders will act. Their commitment to order, civility and decency is reflected in American society.
Mr. Trump fails to meet the bar for this commitment. He has neither the moral compass nor the temperament to serve. His 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.
Indeed, national Republicans have done far worse than simply march along to Mr. Trump’s beat. Their defense of him is imbued with an ugliness, a meanness and a willingness to attack and slander those who have shed blood for our country, who have dedicated their lives and careers to its defense and its security, and whose job is to preserve the nation’s status as a beacon of hope.
Congressional Republicans have embraced and copied Mr. Trump’s cruelty and defended and even adopted his corruption. Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced them with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet. In a recent survey, a majority of Republican voters reported that they consider Mr. Trump a better president than Lincoln.
Mr. Trump and his fellow travelers daily undermine the proposition we as a people have a responsibility and an obligation to continually bend the arc of history toward justice. They mock our belief in America as something more meaningful than lines on a map.
Our peril far outstrips any past differences: It has arrived at our collective doorstep, and we believe there is no other choice. We sincerely hope, but are not optimistic, that some of those Republicans charged with sitting as jurors in a likely Senate impeachment trial will do likewise.
American men and women stand ready around the globe to defend us and our way of life. We must do right by them and ensure that the country for which they daily don their uniform deserves their protection and their sacrifice.”