Before 1 am Donald Trump Rant Twitter last month, against the “Lincoln Republican group RINO … losers” of “Project Lincoln”, Ben Howe, video editor and one of the main creative minds behind the notorious anti-Trump ads of the super PAC, avoided joining to the group. “I didn’t publicly acknowledge my involvement until the president went after the ‘Mourning in America’ ad,” Howe told me during a telephone interview, referring to a Lincoln Project viral spot that exploded the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. . “After he did that – well, it had been my personal mission for him to call me a loser someday. So I was like, Okay, I can’t be quiet anymore. “
Like the other members of the Lincoln Project, Howe – the creative mind, the video editor and, he said, sometimes narrating the voice in many of the group’s ads – spent years supporting conservative policies and working on various Republican campaigns. In December, in an effort to ensure that Trump did not win a second term, Howe joined forces with Rick Wilson, appointed by the Defense Department of then-secretary Dick Cheney and Republican Party strategist, who contributed to Rudy Giuliani’s successful advertising campaigns; George Conway, a Washington lawyer and the husband of Trump’s top aide, Kellyanne Conway, who in 2017 was considered for various positions in the Justice Department before joining the White House; Steve Schmidt, chief strategist for George W. Bush’s 2004 candidacy, chief operating officer for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and campaign manager for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election candidacy for the governor of California; and John Weaver, the chief strategist for John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign. Considered turncoats due to their common opposition to Trump, the group came together under the name of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, and formed a super cap with the explicit aim of preventing Trump from being re-elected, influencing shifting and moderate Republican voters – and irritating him in the process.
Howe honed his skills as an ad creator working for the anti-Obama Tea Party movement. He launched his political career in ad creation after his business, a trademark research firm, went bankrupt during the recession. In 2010, he created a video promoting the Tea Party for RedState, a conservative website where his brother, Caleb Howe, wrote at the time. Following the clip’s semi-viral success, Howe was hired by FreedomWorks, a Koch-based law group that played an important role in the astroturfing of the Tea Party wave, on the other hand. video. His success, he said, resulted in him working with the Heritage Foundation on his own video proposals. His new company, Mister Smith Media, which he told me in honor of the 1939 political drama starring Jimmy Stewart, went on to create clips and online advertisements for Ted Cruz’s inaugural campaign in the Senate, which proved to be the most lasting success of the Tea Party in Washington.
In the years that followed, Howe told me that his company continued to make videos for Heritage, National Reviewand Senator John Cornyn, another Republican from Texas. He did not anticipate, nor was he prepared for Trump’s rise, but for him it represented a breaking point. During the 2016 election, he promised to call Hillary Clinton whether Trump won the nomination. He subsequently created an oppo documentary on the Trump campaign entitled The Sociopath “In January of that year before I even left the party,” he said.