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Lincoln Project Dismisses 'Petty Fighting' With AOC and Progressives, Would Cooperate on Common Goals

Newsweek logo Newsweek 11/10/2020 Jacob Jarvis
a woman taking a selfie in front of a laptop: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) questions Postmaster General Louis DeJoy during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020 in Washington, D.C. She has criticized the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, suggesting it should send its funds elsewhere. © Tom Williams/Pool/Getty Images Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) questions Postmaster General Louis DeJoy during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020 in Washington, D.C. She has criticized the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, suggesting it should send its funds elsewhere.

The Lincoln Project is not looking to engage in "petty fighting" with progressive Democrats—with its continued fight against President Donald Trump and his allies taking precedence.

Reed Galen, an independent political strategist and co-founder of the group, told Newsweek its team would not be distracted by criticism—which has come from figures such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—while it feels there is still work to be done.

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"We're not going to spend time with petty fighting when we have much bigger issues," Galen said, suggesting that if the Lincoln Project and progressives have common goals he would not be averse to them working together.

He suggested that Ocasio-Cortez and others who have hit out at the organisation should instead focus on achieving their own ends—leaving the door open for cooperation if there were common ground.

"We're pro democracy," he said. "I think they [progressives] would be surprised how much we agree upon."

The Lincoln Project is "not a policy organization," Galen said, adding: "We don't want to take over the Democratic Party and we're not going back to the Republican Party.

"If the progressive wing of the Democratic Party doesn't trust us, I don't know what more we can do."

Galen said Trump's actions since Election Day—and his refusal to concede to Joe Biden, despite networks having called the election in the Democrat's favor on Saturday—would continue to spur the Lincoln Project into action.

Its aim remains to hinder Trump and to hold his allies to account for supporting him, Galen added.

Ocasio-Cortez previously suggested that the Lincoln Project should give its funds to other groups she determined to have had a greater impact on the election.

"It's not too late for them to do the right thing," she tweeted. "Lincoln Project should take the L and publicly pledge to give a lot of their fundraising to the people who actually made a big difference."

The comments came amid questions over the level of support Trump actually received from Republicans, after exit polls showed his vote share among those aligned with the party had increased.

Edison Research exit polling from 2020, reported by The New York Times, showed Trump getting 94 percent of support from those identifying as Republicans. In 2016, similar exit polling had put that figure at 90 percent.

Galen previously replied to Ocasio-Cortez: "We have 500,000 individual donors who gave an average of less than $60. I think it's up to them to decide whether @ProjectLincoln is worth their investment. As far as taking 'the L' -@realDonaldTrump is a one term president. And WE were in the fight."

Galen later told Newsweek he was glad the group had been in "a coalition" against Trump.

"I'm proud we were part of a coalition that beat Donald Trump. We were one group among many," he said.

In terms of the support Trump did get, he said: "You're talking to the last person in the world who thought he [Trump] would get 71 million votes. It said to me we need to do a lot more work to understand where half the country is."

The Lincoln Project took aim at Trump and his allies throughout the election campaign, notably in cutting adverts. The president previously branded those involved in the group losers as he responded to one of the ads. Many of its key members were Republican strategists or consultants who did not wish to see Trump re-elected.

It says its mission is to "defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box."

Newsweek has contacted Ocasio-Cortez for comment.

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