David Brock Launches $50 Million Effort to 'Weaken' Trump in 2020

Brock's American Bridge PAC seeks to sway working-class voters in Midwest

David Brock / Twitter
March 21, 2019

David Brock, the seasoned liberal operative and founder of Media Matters, is launching a $50 million effort aimed at working-class voters in the Midwest in an attempt to "weaken" President Donald Trump for the 2020 elections.

Brock's American Bridge PAC, one of the largest liberal super PACs, is currently attempting to raise tens of millions of dollars for the effort on a "nationwide fundraising tour" to nearly triple its budget from slightly less than $30 million to $80 million.

"We understand that we may not win these voters back entirely, but if we don't make inroads into these areas, we will win the popular vote, lose the Electoral College, and the Senate could be lost for a decade," American Bridge wrote to potential donors, NBC News reported.

The campaign is slated to be a "massive" push including television, digital, and radio advertisements targeting voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—and later may include Florida—that will argue that Trump has hurt their interests.

The effort will be led by former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, failed Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, and Jessica Mackler, who was previously the director of independent expenditures at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to a press release from the group.

Brock, who runs a constellation of liberal organizations that also includes Media Matters and Shareblue, held a private donor retreat at the Turnberry Isle Resort just outside of Miami in January 2017 around the time that Trump was sworn into office. During the retreat, Brock handed out a confidential memo to the more than 100 donors who gathered to map out how to "kick Donald Trump's ass" in the upcoming years.

The Washington Free Beacon was on site at the resort during the retreat and obtained the confidential memo, which contains a section for American Bridge in addition to Media Matters, Shareblue, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), once led by Brock. Despite Brock distancing himself from CREW, the group shares employees with Media Matters, the Free Beacon previously reported.

The memo states that the purpose of American Bridge would be to "keep Trump unpopular" and make it more difficult for candidates who support him using resources that include a Trump War Room, which was launched weeks after the 2016 elections.

The group's top objectives are to defeat Trump either through impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020; change the balance of power by measurably impacting Senate, gubernatorial, and state legislative races; and free themselves from solely relying on the press by using a "robust digital program" to reach voters directly online.

"In 2016, Bridge took its role as a research clearinghouse to the next level by expanding the content we provide to 'coordinated side' campaigns and political parties, further maximizing efficiency and reducing duplication of work by Democratic groups," the memo states.

"As we look to 2018 and 2020, we will further increase our impact by building new partnerships with state parties, local candidate campaigns, and state allies," it continues.

The group also wrote of focusing on "Obama-Trump" voters in swing states by targeting and testing their reaction to their content, which would include a "sophisticated public opinion program" to win back these voters in 2020.

American Bridge would seek to do this by using comprehensive research reports on Trump's policy positions and video testimonials from "Trump voters who face the worst impact of Trump's presidency," which is similar to what the group is now attempting to do.

"We're going to focus on real-life testimonials and putting them in front of voters," Brock told NBC News on his newly launched $50 million effort.

"Our research, tracking, and rapid response capabilities are unparalleled in all of American politics," Bradley Beychok, president of American Bridge, said in a press release on the 2020 effort. "We're now set to leverage our expertise to launch the largest persuasion media effort we've ever undertaken with the goal of making Trump a one-term president. Donald Trump turned his back on the voters who gave him a lifeline in 2016. We plan to cut it."