The Lincoln Project says Joe Biden won GOP debate; he’s better than ‘dystopian vision’ presented

GOP DEBATE 8.23 (5)
'The candidates’ insistence that we forget January 6th shows they do not take democracy seriously and are willing to accept Trump’s criminality if it helps their own political careers.'

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Donald Trump political advocacy group, announced several of its takeaways from this cycle’s first GOP presidential debate. 

Noting former President Trump’s absence on the debate stage, The Lincoln Project’s top takeaway was who won the debate, and like Trump, that winner didn’t even participate.

“The winner of tonight’s debate was President Joe Biden,” the group wrote. “Even without Trump on the stage, the ‘debate’ was a two hour grievance-fest pushing a twisted, dystopian vision of America that should give us all pause.”

The group also weighed in on Trump’s counterprogramming — an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that began airing five minutes before Trump’s GOP rivals began their debate in Milwaukee.

They called his interview, which doubled down on election lies and showered praise for Jan. 6 Capitol rioters, “unhinged.” That talk, paired with “the ranting and raving of the Presidential debate,” put “the GOP’s unity around its bankrupt agenda” on “full display.”

Noting “an obsessive culture war that will rollback individual rights, destroy public schools, allow dictators and autocrats to run rampant and deny basic science,” The Lincoln Project blasted the eight candidates who participated in the debate as uninterested in governing. The group argued they are seeking “more celebrity and influence so they can either score a cable TV deal or get into Trump’s good graces and be considered for a possible job.”

Indeed, that assumption came up even among candidates, with businessman Vivek Ramaswamy accusing former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley of seeking jobs in the defense industry and Ramaswamy suggesting former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could land a gig on MSNBC.

And Ramaswamy certainly made a case for a job in a potential Trump 2.0 administration as the only candidate who outright said he would pardon Trump if elected. 

Christie, Haley, and to a lesser degree former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, were the only candidates who directly criticized Trump and even they did so sparingly. 

“The refusal by each candidate — except Chris Christie — to confront the realities and crimes of Jan. 6th, should frighten every American who believes in the rule of law and the Constitution,” The Lincoln Project wrote. “The candidates’ insistence that we forget January 6th shows they do not take democracy seriously and are willing to accept Trump’s criminality if it helps their own political careers.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had the position of honor on the debate stage as the top-polling candidate present — though still behind Trump by double digits — said during the debate that the American people are ready to move on from the Capitol riot. 

The Lincoln Project said the debate “was a distraction from the issue at hand: Democracy is threatened by the current GOP, not just Donald Trump.” 

“President Biden’s three years of success deeply contrasts with the reality show the GOP put on tonight. President Biden has turned the economy around after Covid, passed the most sweeping infrastructure law in generations that will provide jobs, and brought decency and responsibility back to the White House,” the group wrote. 

“After tonight, there is no question that President Biden is the only candidate who supports the rule of law and will fight for democracy at home and around the world.”

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.


  • PeterH

    August 24, 2023 at 12:32 pm

    I agree with the Lincoln Project’s assessment. While Haley performed well challenging Ramaswamy’s unhinged positions ….. she will not float to the top of the GOP’s choice. As expected, DeSantis was a disgrace.

    • Michael K

      August 24, 2023 at 4:15 pm

      Haley does not stand a chance. What remains of the GOP hates women – especially those they cannot control. And by the way, Mike Pence seems to be auditioning for a clergy position, not president of the United States.

  • tom palmer

    August 24, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    As one conservative Washington Post live streamer noted during the debate, DeSantis wanted to move on from Jan. 6, arguing it is in the past, but kept dwelling on the ancient history of the Covid policy discussion.

    • Cheesy Floridan

      August 25, 2023 at 10:00 am

      Because that is where he feels he did the best by doing things his own way. I was grateful for being open during covid but don’t like his heavy hand in running this state.

  • Mike Hawk

    August 24, 2023 at 10:52 pm

    DeSantis wants to kill migrants crossing the border? Stone cold dead.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 25, 2023 at 2:44 am

    No one is above the law! Thank you Georgians for upholding the trust and truth and American values . Thank you Joe Biden for doing your job as a President of America!

Comments are closed.


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