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Tue Aug 4, 2020, 09:47 PM

Stuart Stevens' book on how the GOP became Trump was just released today: "It Was All a Lie:

How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump"

Stevens, a former Republican consultant, is one of the senior advisors for the Lincoln Project.


Stevens' tweet about the book, with video, this evening:

Excerpt from the review in The Guardian:


“What happens if you spend decades focused on appealing to white voters and treating non-white voters with, at best, benign neglect? You get good at doing what it takes to appeal to white voters.” How, for instance, does a black person hear an “avowed hatred of government”?

The policy effects are shocking; the electoral effects only recently came into focus as demographics change. Yet the strategy “was so obvious that even the Russians adopted it, attempting to instigate tensions among black voters to help Trump win”.

This self-deception extends to other areas, notably foreign policy, in which “the Republican party has gone from ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall’ to a Republican president who responds to Vladimir Putin like a stray dog, eager to follow him home”. All without much protest from those who know better.

Stevens believes Donald Trump “just removes the necessity of pretending” Republicans care about social issues. Instead, it’s all about “attacking and defining Democrats”. The idea that “character counts”, so prominent in earlier decades, is forgotten.

In short, stripped “of any pretense of governing philosophy, a political party will default to being controlled by those who shout the loudest and are unhindered by any semblance of normalcy”. The first casualty is the truth. “Large elements of the Republican party have made a collective decision that there is no objective truth” and that a cause or simple access to power is more important.

Excerpt from a David Corn piece in Mother Jones a few days ago, about both the book and a new interview with Stevens:


He huffed that the Republican Party had not merely drifted away from its core positions, as sometimes occurs with political parties: “Fair trade, balanced budgets, character, family values, standing up to foreign adversaries like Russia—we’re all against that now. You have to ask, ‘Does someone abandon deeply held beliefs in three or four years?’ No. It means you didn’t ever hold them.” He added: “I feel like a guy who was working for Bernie Madoff.”

Stevens, an erudite fellow who is also a novelist and a travel writer, has become an emblematic ex-Republican. He once believed in GOP ideals and ideas. Now he saw it all as a huge con. His new book is a confession and cri de coeur. The first line is blunt: “I have no one to blame but myself.” In these pages, Stevens self-flagellates, calling himself a “fool” for his decades of believing—and lying to himself—that the Republican Party was based on “a core set of values.” Acknowledging his role, Stevens writes, “So yes, blame me. Blame me when you look around and see a dysfunctional political system and a Republican Party that has gone insane.” The book offers one overarching prescription for the GOP: “Burn it to the ground and start over.”


“A lot of us in the party liked to believe the dark side was a recessive gene, but it’s a dominant theme,” Stevens, a seventh-­generation Mississippian who was named for Confederate Gen. Jeb Stuart, told me. “And it’s all about race. The Republican Party is a white party and there still are more white people than non-white people.” So that is whom the party aims at—even if this will eventually be a losing proposition as the nation’s demographics continue to shift. Ronald Reagan achieved a landslide victory in 1980 by bagging 56 percent of white voters; 28 years later, John McCain lost with 55 percent of white voters. Perhaps the party’s fixation on white voters can work one more time with Trump in 2020. “But we’re talking about the Confederacy—literally,” Stevens said.

And Nazi Germany. On his own, with no prompting, Stevens went straight to the Defcon-1 analogy: “I tell my GOP friends, ‘It’s crazy to say it’s 1934 in Germany…when it’s clearly 1936.’” He insisted that the 1930s are important for understanding the current moment. “When there was rising anti-Semitism, isolationism, and pro-Nazi sentiment, why did the US not become fascist?” Stevens asked. “Because of FDR. Leaders matter, and the GOP has now completely abdicated its role.” Instead, the party has yielded completely to demagoguery and race-baiting to exploit the racism and resentments of certain white voters. Throughout his decades as a Republican, Stevens considered this racist element a bug in the system. He now realizes it has been a feature.

Wikipedia article on Stevens:


Current Amazon ranking for the book:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

#1 in General Elections & Political Process
#1 in Political Parties (Books)
#4 in United States Executive Government


It sounds to me as if Stevens' book does for the Republican Party what Mary Trump's book does for Donald Trump the individual -- it explains how the monster was created and how dangerous it is.

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Reply Stuart Stevens' book on how the GOP became Trump was just released today: "It Was All a Lie: (Original post)
highplainsdem Aug 4 OP
captain queeg Aug 4 #1
Cha Aug 4 #2
tenderfoot Aug 4 #3
Totally Tunsie Aug 5 #4

Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 09:56 PM

1. "Does someone abandon deeply held beliefs in 3 or 4 years? No

It means that you never held them”. Yep

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Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 10:29 PM

2. Of course.. Rt!

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Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 10:59 PM

3. Here's a good interview from a few months ago...

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Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 03:09 AM

4. Stevens was on one of the cable shows this evening, and

was reviewing Chump's interview with Swan. After watching the clip where Chump is trying to look like he understood the charts and graphs, Stevens made the comment "This is the guy you don't want to be stuck sitting next to on a transcontinental flight."


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