LincolnLabs is a group looking to inhabit the intersection of tech policy and free-market economics. Its mission? To "advance liberty in the public square with the use of technology." While that mission may sound wildly amorphous, it's a message that will resonate with politicians—particularly Republicans—looking for that new hotness and trying to broaden their paths to electoral success.
This week, the group will host a two-day conference in Washington, Reboot Congress, highlighted by speeches from three likely presidential candidates. The conference will take place two weeks before the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative politicians and activists alike. If CPAC is like Burning Man for former College Republicans—a Venn diagram with Grover Norquist at its center—then Reboot Congress is like CPAC for hipsters. Or at least Republican hipsters.
LincolnLabs was launched in 2013 by three young former Republican operatives. One of the group's founders, Garrett Johnson, worked for Jeb Bush, who is now dealing with his own tech-related quandary. While the group is bipartisan (Democratic Rep. Jared Polis joins several Republicans in speaking at the conference), its work is an exemplar of the modern Republican Party, which is becoming more tech-focused, as exhibited by its love for ride-sharing services like Uber. That love is reflected in the list of speakers at Reboot, which includes top lobbyists from Uber, Lyft, and Facebook.