Meme group joins with Lincoln Project in new campaign against Trump

The group Meme 2020 is partnering with The Lincoln Project, a prominent Republican group opposing President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE’s reelection, with a new campaign targeting young voters through popular Instagram accounts. 

Meme 2020 made its first foray into politics earlier this year with a push backing Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEverytown on the NRA lawsuit: 'Come November, we're going to make sure they're out of power, too' Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom Meme group joins with Lincoln Project in new campaign against Trump MORE’s presidential campaign, but its latest project, which launched this week, is instead focusing on a broader voter mobilization effort. 

“Meme 2020 is laser focussed on building out this new medium that has been largely undeveloped in political advertising,” said Ryan Patrick Kelley, chief of staff of Meme 2020. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Partnering with The Lincoln Project, he said, seemed natural given the spotlight the anti-Trump GOP group has garnered in recent months. The Lincoln Project is run by Republicans opposed to Trump, including George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom Meme group joins with Lincoln Project in new campaign against Trump MORE, the Washington, D.C., lawyer married to White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Watchdog group accuses Stephen Miller of violating Hatch Act with Biden comments Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom MORE

“It's no secret that the Lincoln Project has been just an absolute juggernaut in this area,” Kelley said. 

The GOP group earlier this month said it raised $16.8 million in the second quarter of 2020, and it has launched numerous ads attacking Trump. But the Lincoln Project has been active in “more traditional spaces,” Kelley noted. Through this partnership, their message can expand to try to reach younger voters, which will be a key voting bloc for the November election. 

“The Lincoln Project is resonating all over America because we speak to conservatives and independents in a way they‘ll understand," said Sarah Lenti, executive director of the Lincoln Project. "Meme2020 works much the same way: we’re using the language of the internet to speak to younger voters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see two entities, from different partisan backgrounds, join together in solidarity to change the course of history,” she added in a statement. 

Meme 2020’s campaign is funded by tech entrepreneur Reid Hoffman. The group is also partnering with Rhyme Combinator, a viral media company that promotes artist and progressive causes, on the project. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Unlike the sponsored content backing Bloomberg in February, the new launch isn’t candidate-focused and will include content to connect potential voters to resources, including finding their polling places and requesting mail-in ballots.

“Voter mobilization is centric to this launch,” Kelley said. 

The group is working with popular meme Instagram accounts including, MyTherapistSays, which has more than 5.5 million followers, TankSinatra, which has more than 2.6 million followers, and AdamTheCreator, which has 762,000 followers, in the latest campaign. 

Memes posted by the accounts on Wednesday focused on mail-in voting, which Trump has railed against while issuing baseless claims that it leads to voter fraud. The memes feature applications for mail-in ballots for different states with text messages from “FBI agents.” 

The meme posted by MyTherapistSays, for example, features a California mail-in ballot application with a text from an “FBI agent” that reads “Good to see you doing something productive. Also, quarantine is not an excuse to reply to him, Jenna.” 

One posted by TankSinatra features a mail-in ballot for Florida, a key swing state for November’s election, with a text from an “FBI agent” stating “You know Joe Exotic isn’t on the ballot, right?”

In addition to the memes, the accounts included links users could follow to request mail-in ballots. 

Along with the launch of the campaign, Meme 2020 this week filed paperwork to create a super PAC to further build on its efforts to engage young voters, Kelley said. The group filed paperwork Wednesday to form Meme America PAC. 

“You have some of these great super PACs out there, [but they’re] not necessarily geared toward younger Americans,” he said. 

The PAC will help the group amplify its message and activate voters through Election Day, he said.