Mar 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

First look: Lincoln Project sponsors pro-democracy coalition

Illustration of people holding up a giant megaphone.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The founders of The Lincoln Project are helping unite over two dozen political groups as "The Union," aiming to mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers in legal, tech and communications capacities ahead of the midterms and 2024 election, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The goal is to fight against threats to democracy at the ballot box and beyond. Senior adviser Joe Trippi told Axios roughly 500 lawyers have asked to help, and many former local journalists have registered to assist with communications.

  • Besides Trippi, The Union is backed by Lincoln Project co-founders Reed Galen and Rick Wilson and another senior adviser, Stuart Stevens.
  • The founders of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project say the need for a pro-democracy group has been illustrated by the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the criticism of recent elections by former President Trump and his supporters, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
  • So far, 30 groups have signed up to be part of The Union for 2022 and 2024. The coalition officially launches Monday.

What they're saying: "Democracy really is at stake here and abroad," Trippi told Axios.

  • "We need to defeat the forces who want to overturn democracy in 2022 and 2024."

The big picture: The group intends to mobilize its growing volunteer network base through what they call "Union alerts."

  • The calls-to-action will be blasted via email and on their social channels.
  • They also plan to tap into the strength of more than 7 million social followers and millions of additional viewers who can also be launched into action.
  • For example, on Feb. 24, the group sent out its first Union alert. It provided the Fox News switchboard number and asked its members to call the network and ask them to stop spreading Russian propaganda.
  • The goal was to measure the engagement of the volunteers and supporters.

The backdrop: Monday's kickoff will include a 90-second video, a tweet thread, streaming programming on The Lincoln Project channel and virtual town halls with the partner groups in the evening to answer questions from those who want to get involved.

Between the lines: Thanks to the collection of groups that have signed up already, The Union has amassed over 45,000 volunteers across the country.

  • When volunteers register, they indicate what pro-democracy activities they’re most interested in, and whether they are best positioned to help with legal efforts, technology (like building websites and code), voter contact or communications.

What they're saying: “It’s unleashing the power of all those people out there who want to do something about defending our democracy but don’t quite know where to go or what to do," Trippi said of The Union. "This is the place."

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