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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Lincoln Project

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway


Lesley Stahl: Have you given up your careers?
Steve Schmidt: None of us will ever work in Republican politics again. We-- we joke that like some of the explorers who came to the new world, they were incentivized by the captain when he burned the ships that there was-- (LAUGH) there was no return (LAUGH) going back. 

... 

Lesley Stahl: Who are you aiming for? What kind of a voter?
Rick Wilson: So those independent-leaning men, those college-educated Republicans, the suburban Republican women. We understand where these voters are, we understand who they are and how they think. And Lesley, it's a game of small numbers. I mean, Donald Trump won this election by 77,000 votes in three states.
Lesley Stahl: You basically have endorsed Joe Biden.
Reed Galen: We have. We have endorsed Joe Biden. Yes.

"Mourning in America" was a pivotal moment

...
Reed Galen: The President attacked all of us by name. Called us losers. And we raised $2 million in 48 hours.
Lesley Stahl: So he's helping you?
Reed Galen: He bought us instant credibility.
..
Reed Galen: We have a standing buy on Fox News in Washington, D.C. with Fox and Friends, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, every night.
Lesley Stahl: Is that because he watches?
Reed Galen: Yes. Because we know he's in the residence with his super TiVo watching.Lesley Stahl: Why is provoking him a good strategy?
Rick Wilson: Every time Donald Trump loses his mind and throws things at the wall because a Lincoln Project ad is up, that takes the whole campaign off track. There's one thing you never get back in a campaign. That's a lost day.
Lesley Stahl: Are you concerned that you're stooping to the president's level of being mean?
Rick Wilson: I hope so. (LAUGH) There's always a reflexive sort of-- do-gooder instinct to say, "Oh, I hate negative ads." People do hate negative ads, but negative ads work.

...

 Mike Madrid: The real dividing line in the Republican Party is between college-educated and non-college-educated voters. And what we're seeing is, when Donald Trump starts to push messages like law and order, or defends, you know, the Confederate flags and Confederate monuments, he does seem to be able to coalesce a small number of non-college-educated workers in the Rust Belt states. But at the same time, he's pushing white, college-educated workers in the Sun Belt states out of his column.

It's a reverse twist on the old Southern strategy where Republicans used racist appeals to attract white voters in the South. And they're trying to capitalize on it.

Mike Madrid: What we see in the South is more and more people in high-tech industries saying, "This is a politics that I reject."