Saturday, August 01, 2020

Is the Lincoln Project actually doing any good?

What to make of the Lincoln Project? Watch a few of its short videos to get a flavour of it (there are A LOT). Some are amusing, some are poignant, some are just plain factual.
As a vehicle for skewering Donald Trump and his claims in the run-up to the November 3rd election, it's hard not to like it. God knows, we'll take any vehicle that helps depose the guy before he does any more damage to America and the world.
And at least some of its impact comes from the fact that it is produced by anti-Trump Republicans (George Conway is Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway's husband, Rick Wilson is a former GOP strategist and media consultant, Jennifer Horn is a former New Hampshire GOP chair, and Steve Schmidt is another former GOP strategist), the idea being, I suppose, to persuade other Republicans that it is OK - nay, even the right thing for a real Republican to do - to oppose Trump. So, yes, some really pretty nasty character assassination ads produced by a bunch of disaffected Republicans. Weird, right?
But are they effective? Trump's clownishness sets him up easily for mockery and satire, and this has been the mealticket for many a late night comedian since Day One, not to mention that old Internet thing, which is just bursting with Trump satire and piss-takes. Are a few more, admittedly clever, videos going to make much difference? Arguably, the videos work better as comedy than as politics.
Some of the Project's producers have suggested that the ads are actually aimed at Trump himself - "an audience of one" - and that their main intention is to get under Trump's skin. One in particular, Mourning in America, a play on Reagan's Morning in America ad, apparently did get quite a visceral response from the Tweeter-in-Chief. But Trump is so notoriously thin-skinned that getting under it is not too much of an achievement. And how is that going to help anything anyway? Do they think that Trump will be so incensed by their mockery that he will just give up? Do they intend to troll him out of office? It seems improbable to me that that is in fact their objective.
And it's a shame that the videos (with one or two exceptions) are so unremittingly negative - negativity is very much a Trump tactic. They are personally abusive and transparently ad hominen, which arguably is sinking down to the murky depths of Trump's own level.
But no-one said that they were going to turn the election round all on ther own. They are just a small part of an arsenal being brought to bear against Trump and, as such, it's hard not to welcome them.

No comments: