Lincoln Project: First GOP debate is ‘over before it started’
Donald Trump. Image via AP.

'There won’t be a serious alternative to Trump on the stage tonight.'

As eight GOP presidential hopefuls — none named Donald Trump — prepare to take the stage Wednesday night in Milwaukee for the first Republican presidential debate of the 2024 cycle, the anti-Trump Lincoln Project is arguing the debate is over before it even started.

“Since none of the candidates can make a credible case they should be President, tonight’s debate features potential Cabinet Secretaries grasping for relevance,” read a statement from The Lincoln Project co-founders Reed Galen and Rick Wilson.

The pair took particular note of Trump’s absence. He announced earlier this week that he would not participate, reasoning that because he held such a strong lead over the rest of the GOP pack, participation would only succeed in boosting his rivals’ relevance. Instead, Trump sat for a prerecorded interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“Even though Trump won’t be in the room, the orange elephant will dominate the debate,” Galen and Wilson said. “None of the candidates will dare criticize him and polls show the indictments fuel his campaign. The cold fact is that the Republican party is now the party of Trump.”

Indeed, polls show Trump’s current legal woes — he’s now facing four indictments, including the most recent in Georgia for which Trump is expected to turn himself into authorities the day after the debate — are doing little to dissuade GOP voters.

In fact, some polls suggest the criminal charges — which include two federal indictments, the Georgia racketeering charges and a case in New York related to hush money payments paid to an adult film star — are actually helping him. 

An NBC News poll in June found that 63% of voters had “no real concerns” about the indictments against Trump. At the time there were only two. In March, when Trump was facing only the New York indictment and the prospect of others, POLITICO posited that it only made GOP voters like Trump more. 

Trump holds double-digit leads over all of his opponents, with even Gov. Ron DeSantis failing to make any significant ground in closing the gap. DeSantis had long been considered the best shot at a Trump alternative. 

Yet The Lincoln Project is cautioning voters.

“Trump only offers a dark and dystopian view of the future; a nightmare scenario full of racist and misogynistic policies that plays to the lowest common denominator,” the co-founders wrote. 

Instead, the former Republican strategists who now work to defeat what they describe as “Trumpism” are suggesting voters look no further than the current occupant of the White House. 

“There won’t be a serious alternative to Trump on the stage tonight. President Biden is the only candidate who will stand up to Trump and protect our democracy. For all who care about the future of this country, uniting behind President Biden is our only shot at preserving the great American experiment,” Galen and Wilson said. 

The two-hour debate begins at 9 p.m. EDT Wednesday. It can be viewed on Fox News and the Fox Business Network, as well as on Fox’s website or various streaming platforms. Fox hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum are moderating. 

Trump has already recorded his interview with Carlson, which will reportedly stream on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, also at 9 p.m.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Earl Pitts "Nature Boy" American

    August 23, 2023 at 11:39 am

    Good mornting America,
    Just ignore these nerds on the sideline who keep constantly chirping out one Dook 4 Brains RINO off the wall thought after another.
    PRO TIP: Never use “The Lincoln Project” to impress the ladies at political cocktail parties, if you want to get some sweet poon as everyone knows the L. P. Members are nothing but a bunch of dried up old farts. Everyone knows they are past the age of erection dysfunction meds being able to help them get wood.
    Thank you America,

    • JD

      August 23, 2023 at 11:48 am

      Nobody with money uses ED meds anymore, they all use ultrasound to get wood. One time fix, big pharma’s blue pills be damned.

      This tells me you’re Xtina behind the curtain as Burbank would know this. Dook 4 Brains Extremist

      And what, no “groomer” comments about the LP? Amateur hour…

  • My Take

    August 23, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    LP has its eyes clrearly on THÈ ONE critical priźe:
    Keep Trump OUT of the White House

Comments are closed.


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