Lincoln Project co-founders: It's time for Republicans to stand against autocracy

Lincoln Project co-founders: It's time for Republicans to stand against autocracy
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The co-founders of the anti-Trump Republican group The Lincoln Project made an impassioned plea for conservatives to vote against President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE, warning that the "nation's soul" is at risk.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, co-founders Stuart Stevens, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and Reed Galen called on Republicans to act, asking if they would rather have "a republic or an autocracy.”

The longtime GOP operatives-turned-anti-Trump activists pointed to the president's past comments refusing to commit to accepting the results of the election. Trump last week said he would accept a peaceful transfer of power but that he wants it to be an "honest election."

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“Never before in U.S. history has an incumbent president refused in advance to accept the outcome of an election,” the Lincoln Project co-founders wrote. “In the days ahead, your party may call upon you to support efforts by a White House that refuses to transfer power after a loss at the polls. The weapons won’t be tanks but thousands of lawyers backed by an attorney general who works for the president, not the people.”

Trump in his NBC News town hall last week agreed to leave the White House without issue should he lose the election, after repeatedly refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

“Peaceful transfer? I absolutely want that. But ideally, I don’t want to transfer, because I want to win,” he said.

The Lincoln Project leaders in their op-ed sought to appeal to what they characterize as GOP disapproval of Trump occurring behind closed doors.

“You’ve seen the haunted look in a colleague’s or a boss’s eyes after a meeting with the unstable, unfit man who is our president. You know in your heart that Trump should not be president for another day,” they wrote.

“As conservatives, we long argued that culture was the soul of America. We were right, but it is Trump who now assaults our nation’s soul,” they add later.

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The anti-Trump activists argued that the president would poison Republicans' chances of having success in the future.

Republicans are currently defending a number of vulnerable Senate seats, and Trump's performance in the election could have a major impact on those races.

The Lincoln Project has run ads targeting several vulnerable Republicans this cycle, with the group going after senators who have supported Trump.

At the end of the piece the activists posed the choice between choosing “America or Trump.”

On Wednesday, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele formally endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE and appeared in an ad for The Lincoln Project.

Speaking with The Hill, he said, “I’ll disagree with a lot of the policy that Joe Biden puts out before the country, but that’s OK, you should have those debates. That’s not what the last three and a half years have been about. The last three and a half years have been about the personality traits of one individual. Our entire culture and politics are consumed by one person, and the country can’t get anything done that way."