Stuart Stevens has a new book out in a couple days. “It Was All a Lie.” His revelations are not anything new to most on this forum, but his epitaph on the Republican party is still worth a look. (Quotes below pulled from various reviews.)
Linked are full reviews from the Boston Globe and the National Review. (The latter is long and I couldn’t finish it, not due to length but its breathtaking obliviousness. I read through the comments on the Globe piece - most agreed with the sentiment, although there’s a fair bit of ‘fuck yous’ towards Stevens as well as “but both parties” too. Now, there are legitimate criticisms that can be levied against Democrats but that’s a battle for another day. As for hating on Stevens and never trumpers writ large - well, personally I don’t get it. I mean, decrying Republicans for ills they have done but then shitting on those who ‘repent’ seems needlessly vengeful. I did not read any of the comments on National Review - not because I don’t want to know, but rather because I already know they’ll just reflect the tone of the reviewer, only worse.)
Edit: One more link, op-ed by Stevens in the NYT.
I can’t keep lying to myself to ward off the depressing reality that I had been lying to myself for decades. There is nothing strange or unexpected about Donald Trump. He is the logical conclusion of what the Republican Party became over the last fifty or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race, self-deception, and anger that became the essence of the Republican Party. Trump isn’t an aberration of the Republican Party; he is the Republican Party in a purified form.
What were the lies? That the Republican Party “espoused a core set of values: character counts, personal responsibility, strong on Russia, the national debt actually mattered, immigration made America great, a big-tent party.”
And what is the truth? The Republican Party is “just a white grievance party.”
Race has defined the modern Republican Party. After Goldwater carried only southern states and received a record low of 7 percent of the black vote, the party faced a basic choice: do what was necessary to appeal to more nonwhite voters, or build a party to win with white voters. It chose the latter, and when most successfully executed, a race-based strategy was the foundation of many of the Republican Party’s biggest victories, from Nixon to Trump.
In fact, Stevens told me, “race is the original sin of the modern Republican Party:”
With Trump, the Party has grown comfortable as a white grievance party. Is that racist? Yes, I think it is. Are 63 million plus people who supported Trump racist? No, absolutely not. But to support Trump is to make peace with white grievance and hate
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.
Rather than saying the sky is green, the new strategy is “to build a world in which the sky is in fact green. Then everyone who says it is blue is clearly a liar.” Sadly, it has worked. Stevens notes that once “there is no challenge to the craziest of ideas that have no basis in fact, it is easy for Trump to take one small bit of truth and spin it into an elaborate fantasy.”