BIGGEST LOSERS: Lincoln-Themed Liberal Super PAC Goes 0-7 in Key Senate Races

November 11, 2020

The Lincoln Project, a liberal Super PAC founded by shlubby white dudes who weren't very good at sports growing up but compensated for that as adults by owning people on Twitter, went an abysmal 0-7 in key Senate races this cycle despite spending almost $12 million in support of Democratic candidates.

In addition to trolling President Donald Trump by running ads in Washington, D.C., the Lincoln Project bros also targeted seven U.S. Senate races. Media outlets published "exclusive" reports about the group's ad campaigns as if they mattered:

Meanwhile, the Lincoln Project bros routinely bragged about how much money they raised and how awesome and influential their ads were. For example:

It didn't matter. The Lincoln Project spent a total of $2.4 million trying to unseat Lindsey Graham, who ended up winning by more than 10 percentage points. The group's track record in other key Senate races was just as embarrassing. In every state where the Lincoln Project spent at least $200,000, the Republican candidate won.

The group spent $4.3 million on the Alaska Senate race, for example, in the form of attack ads against incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan (R., Alaska) and ads supporting the Democrat-aligned independent candidate, Al Gross. The race was finally called on Wednesday, with Sullivan winning reelection by 20 percentage points.

The Lincoln Project joins Michael Bloomberg's political organization as a prominent example of liberal groups that spent an extraordinary amount of money on the 2020 election, yet accomplished next to nothing.

Here's how the Lincoln Project fared in other close races Democrats were hoping to win in order to regain control of the Senate, an outcome that now seems increasingly out of reach:

  • Montana: $2.7 million spent; Sen. Steve Daines (R., Mont.) won reelection by 10 percentage points.
  • Maine: $1.7 million spent; Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) won reelection by 8 percentage points.
  • Kentucky: $464,000 spent;  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) won reelection by almost 20 percentage points.
  • Iowa: $226,000 spent; Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) won reelection by more than 6 percentage points.
  • North Carolina: $197,000 spent; Sen. Thom Tillis won reelection.

If the goal was to spend millions of dollars to pad the bank accounts of some shlubby white dudes and to produce some sick owns of Trump on social media, Lincoln Project donors certainly got their money's worth. If the goal was to actually accomplish something meaningful, then no, they certainly did not.

Overall, the Lincoln Project raised $67 million in 2020 but only spent about two thirds of that amount ($47 million), which is totally reasonable. Because what would be the point of our political system if shlubby white dudes couldn't get rich by pretending to have principles?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) called out the Lincoln Project on Twitter, saying the liberal Super PAC was "in scam territory" and suggesting they should "do the right thing ... and publicly pledge to give a lot of their fundraising to the people who actually made a big difference."

Her naiveté is almost adorable. Here's what the Lincoln Project is actually up to, according to Axios:

The group is in talks with the United Talent Agency (UTA) to help build out Lincoln Media and is weighing offers from different television studios, podcast networks and book publishers.

Grifters, as the saying goes, gonna grift.