News & Politics

The Lincoln Project Is Exploring a Post-Election Future in the Media Business

The high-profile never Trump Republican PAC is in talks with the United Talent Agency.

After emerging as one of the signature political groups of the 2020 presidential race, the Lincoln Project is reportedly exploring a post-election future in the media business.

According to Axios, the anti-Trump PAC—which is best known for its political attack ads—is in discussions with the United Talent Agency about expanding its media division as it considers a number of television, book, and podcasting offers.

“The company is currently working with a documentarian and a motion picture producer to create a non-fiction film after the election,” Axios reported. “It’s also attracted interest from TV studios looking to work with the Lincoln Project to help develop a ‘House of Cards’-like fiction series.”

The Lincoln Project was founded in late 2019 by a collection of high-profile Never-Trump Republicans, including Steve Schmidt, George Conway, Rick Wilson, and others. As it attracted attention for its anti-Trump advertisements, it also began producing a podcast that gets about 1.5 million downloads each month as well as a pair of streaming political analysis shows that, together, have racked up more than 16 million views, according to Axios.

“We didn’t set out to become a media company,” Rick Wilson, a Lincoln Project co-founder, told Axios, “but we’ve inadvertently become a content creation machine.”

A deal with United Talent would represent an expansion of the organization’s current media endeavors. It would also solve a problem for the Schmidt, Conway, and Wilson, all of whom had lucrative careers as GOP operatives in the pre-Trump era: If the president—with or without the help of the Lincoln Project—were to lose, what would happen to their careers?

Having run a slew of ads championing Democrat Joe Biden, it might be awkward for the Lincoln Project team to slide back into the world of Republican campaigns, even if a post-Trump party somehow wanted to distance itself from the former president. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that they’d be able to move into jobs or TV gigs cheering on a Biden administration.

Turning into content creators, though, would enable them to move beyond the usual options awaiting underemployed hatchet men. And the clicky, endlessly sharable of their 2020 effort could certainly appeal to Hollywood types looking to link arms with creative people who know politics. It remains to be seen, however, if there will be enough anti-Trump interest to sustain such a venture in the event that the Lincoln Project gets what it wants and Trump is ousted in next week’s election.

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.