By: Zak Smith
A friend asked me a simple question recently, one that has caused me quite a bit of thought: why is it that the
WalkAway movement wants to have an open debate, while the Lincoln Project is wholly uninterested? What is it that separates two movements, on the surface so seemingly related? What is the difference?
After all, these two groups appear similar: both are reactions to one side of the political aisle, both seek to separate themselves from those they once supported, and both involve a cadre of fervent supporters who are trying to convince people
with whom they once affiliated. However, careful digging quickly reveals the differences between them to be stark.
The WalkAway movement began as an organic process in which people who once considered themselves as Democrats decided, well, to Walk Away. They felt deserted by a Party they had relied upon and supported for many years.
The Moderates within the Party were slowly( and sometimes quickly) replaced with more and more Left leaning candidates.
Even the Representatives they had once relied upon were now supporting ideas they couldn’t even fathom. The Green New Deal serves as a perfect example of the crazy policies they fled. The Lincoln Project has a similar origin story: a group of people who are even still mostly made up by Republicans (though some have left the party), fighting a battle against a person they saw as an unfit President. Even today, they can’t
understand how someone could support a brash leader who shoots from the hip. They decided they would rather vote for a Democrat than Donald Trump, a stance which most within the Republican party view with disdain.
What could make a group who identifies as mostly Conservatives and Libertarians resort to such extreme measures?
After all, it is easy to see the differences between Conservative values and the platform of the Democratic Party. These people
gave up many of their principled stances on issues ranging from gun control, to the economy and taxation, to abortion.
The answer to all of these questions boils down to two facts: WalkAway is disengaging from a cult while The Lincoln Project is forming one, and due to that WalkAway members were left struggling for identity and purpose, while The Lincoln Project knew the banner under which they flew their flag from the outset.
Calling a group a cult is a strong statement, and requires precision, lest we overuse the term. We can appreciate how the Left has attempted to transform the meaning of language in order to win any war of words from the outset. As people who
adhere to the idea of Truth with a capital ‘T’, if we make the same attempt to redefine terms as the Left does, we will have lost ourselves in defeating our ideological enemies.
So what is a cult? A brief search led me to an article from the Tennessean, written in 2016: “A cult is a group or movement held together by a shared commitment to a charismatic leader or ideology. It has a belief system that has the answers to all of life's questions and offers a special solution to be gained only by following the leader's rule.” The article goes
on to list 4 specific characteristics of cults: a Charismatic leader, a Transcendental Belief System, Systems of Control, and Systems of influence.
The difference between a cult and a belief system( political, religious, or otherwise) is that the leadership of a cult not only tells you what you need to believe in order to fit in, they tell you how to act in light of that belief. So you can go to man different Christian churches that have similar beliefs, and they will each operate independently and have many differences that make them distinct. A cult, on the other hand, has narrowly defined practices from which their believers are not allowed to deviate.
Another characteristic- left out of the article- is the extent to which cult members are encouraged to disassociate from the outside world. Non-believers and questioners are viewed with disdain. This particular trait could be considered to go under the rubric of “Systems of Control”, but it is so important it deserves a category unto itself.
Those looking in from the outside can’t help but notice that the far Left is a cult. Their leaders trumpet truth from on high, there is a “baptism” of admitting that systemic racism, critical race theory, man-made global warming, etc. are all true, after which the convert is welcomed with open arms. Soon, however, they must make a choice: either cut ties with the people who disagree with Leftist ideology, or face the excommunication of cancellation.
Those who champion the WalkAway movement often refer to their break with the Democrat party as a process by which they slowly woke up to the realization that something was not right. They describe their many conversations with
friends as if they were speaking to a brick wall with a tape recorder set atop it. No matter how they tried to reason they were greeted with a stubborn resolve to ignore any facts that didn’t fit their narrative. It seemed that no fact would sway those on the Left. In the end they felt abandoned by the Party they once trusted. From their point of view it was more like the Democrats walked away from them, marching in lockstep toward their common purpose.
But is The Lincoln Project really a cult? After all, it’s merely a group of like minded people banding together for a purpose, right?
The difference between WalkAway and The Lincoln Project lies in how the two groups operate: The Lincoln Project had a very firm and charismatic leadership from the start. They had a singular purpose: to defeat Trump. They had a method
of operation. They speak against Trump every chance they get, they will not abide even one positive sentiment about our President, and they will do anything to achieve their goals.
Herein lies the contrast: the WalkAway movement is seeking answers to their questions, where they found none before. The Lincoln Project operates as if one answer is already evident: we must defeat Trump by any means necessary. This commitment to an ideology is so strong that they are willing to vote in a candidate who by all indications is not only corrupt, but also suffering from a severe and steep mental decline. They ignore everything in the pursuit of their Transcendent Purpose: Orange Man Bad.