“I’m not sure my penis can be more erect right now,” screams Rick Wilson in the first episode of The Lincoln Project, a Showtime documentary series about the disgraced super PAC he founded in 2019. Wilson, an insane troll who spends insane time on Twitter telling strangers he just slept with their wives, reviews a new ad digital that the group is about to release online. Like most of their work, it’s subtle and cerebral. You see, he attacks Donald Trump – who has been known to call his enemies “losers” – by calling him a loser. Great.
If the goal was to make antagonistic Trump viral videos that would appeal to national media, appease some mentally ill liberals, and raise money for the Lincoln Project, it worked. If they had a different goal in mind – to make a difference in the election, to “save democracy” – the outcome was less clear. The five-part series chronicles how an organization dedicated to exposing Trump’s apparent flaws — his galactic arrogance, insatiable greed, childish behavior, petty bickering, foul language, sexual malfeasance and dysfunctional leadership — came to light. embody those same flaws before collapsing. in himself like a dying star.
In hindsight, given the actors involved, the Lincoln Project’s self-inflicted downfall seems inevitable. At the time of its launch, however, few could have anticipated the sinister saga about to unfold in front of the cameras, let alone directors Karim Amer and Fisher Stevens, who began filming at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Stevens , the white Hollywood actor and Democratic donor best known for playing an Indian doctor in the short circuit films, linked to the group after being seduced by one of these viral advertisements. The Lincoln Project isn’t the flaky play they presumably set out to make, which is why it debuted last month as opposed to last year.
The series traces the rise and fall of the super PAC from its official launch in Manhattan’s East Village in front of a crowd of wealthy liberals to the bitter infighting between the co-founders seeking to turn cultural clout into “generational wealth “, as well as the sexual misconduct allegations against co-founder John Weaver that ultimately shattered their dream of creating what Wilson describes as “the greatest super PAC in American history.” That sound you hear? The smallest violin in the world playing just for them.
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It’s a story with no protagonists and very few supporting actors who elicit any sympathy, except perhaps the low-level employees who lost their jobs and eventually realized that what they thought was a noble quest to “save democracy” was actually a giant scam. They wish they could break their non-disclosure agreements. Regarding the Weaver sex scandal, they insist that the organization’s leadership knew he was pressuring young men to have sex in exchange for career opportunities and that he had conspired to let it be silent. “It wasn’t complete news to me,” says former executive director Sarah Lenti. “I had interns coming out of my ears. John was sending them to me.”
Nevertheless, the four main co-founders – Reed Galen, Steve Schmidt, Stuart Stevens and Wilson – continue to assert their ignorance despite all evidence to the contrary. Whether or not they lie between their teeth is almost irrelevant. They are accurately portrayed in the series as despicable schlubs who think of themselves as a “rogue special forces unit” sneaking into enemy territory to “kick the shit out of Donald Trump”. Just like the soldiers who stormed the beaches on D-Day to defeat fascism. In reality, they have a lot more in common with the man they were fighting against.
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Wilson emerges as a deeply Trumpian figure whose enormous self-esteem and wanton vulgarity are surely a facade obscuring deep-seated insecurities. “Some people think I’m pretty good at this shit,” he brags as he composes a commercial script and inhales a bowl of ice cream. At one point, Wilson attempts to impress the filmmakers by uninvited calling himself “the person who managed to put the first dick joke in an American political ad.” Anyone unfamiliar with the work of the Lincoln Project would be hard pressed to find a more succinct summary.
While Trump has exploited the media’s addiction to salacious celebrity dramas to generate billions of dollars in free coverage, The Lincoln Project has raised nearly $100 million by exploiting the media’s addiction to Trump and the psychosis he has. induced among professional class liberals with large amounts of disposable income. Few loved The Lincoln Project more than the left-wing crazies on MSNBC, where the co-founders were frequently asked to speak out against Trump. Mad minds must think the same way. One of their biggest network fans, host Tiffany Cross, was recently fired after calling Florida “the cock of the country”.
READ MORE: Leak, liar, renegade, nut job
At one point, the series chronicles the group’s decision to buy a Times Square billboard attacking Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Not everyone is convinced the billboard will advance its stated goal of persuading swing-state Republicans to vote for Joe Biden, but they ultimately agree with co-founder Ron Steslow, who explained that “we should just try to fuck with them and get inside their heads” because that “would generate donations from all over the country”. He was right. The billboard went viral, the first couple threatened to sue and the donations poured in.
The Lincoln Project’s founders – even the malcontents who left the group – have convinced themselves they played an indispensable role in the 2020 election. Mike Madrid, who dated Steslow amid a bitter row over finances of the organization, is still pretty livid about the “bad shit” that happened at the Lincoln Project, which is legally forbidden to discuss. “At some point,” he tells producers as he paints a Renaissance-style mural in the living room of his posh Sacramento townhouse, “I think we all have an obligation to say, ‘Do making money off a scandal machine helps democracy or does it hurt it?'”
READ MORE: The Lincoln Project pays $100,000 in mysterious legal settlement with co-founder
Madrid believes the Lincoln Project helped save democracy by defeating Trump. “We screwed up the president of the United States,” he said. The evidence suggests otherwise. A post-election study by Priorities USA, the Democratic-aligned super PAC, found that the Lincoln Project ads failed to persuade swing-state Republicans to vote for Biden. In fact, the more attention the ad received on Twitter, the less persuasive it was to the voters it ostensibly targeted. The Lincoln Project has spent millions on ads supporting Democratic candidates in seven key U.S. Senate races. They lost each of them by an average margin of more than 10 percentage points.
The Lincoln Project continues to exist in a reduced form, having learned from watching Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke that rich liberals will continue to give you money even if you lose. One of the final scenes takes place at a fundraiser in Beverley Hills, where the remaining founders tell actress Marcia Gay Harden and other Hollywood types that giving money to assholes like them is necessary to preserve democracy. The Hollywood types who filmed the series and watched the Lincoln Project be consumed by the scandal and dysfunction often associated with Trump-run businesses, seem to be on board and let Stuart Stevens have the final say.
“There is nothing noble about us,” he says. “You don’t have to think we’re good people. You don’t have to agree with us. You don’t have to like us. is a fight for democracy, and you really believe it’s an existential fight, you need all the useful sons of bitches you can get on your side.”
Not necessarily helpful when it comes to winning elections – Lincoln Project apologists insist their impact on the 2020 race was too sophisticated to observe using conventional data analytics – but” helpful” in terms of emotional support and moral validation to liberal elites. Given the high demand for these services, which will inevitably increase after the Democrats lose the midterm elections, these despicable schlubs have stumbled upon a decent business model. Useful or not, though, sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.
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