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Thu Aug 27, 2020, 09:54 AM

Former GOP operative Stuart Stevens on Michelangelo Signorile's program (short transcript)

From yesterday's program. Stevens is the author of the new book It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump. He is discussing his epiphany that the Republican party is easily mutable and not a party of strongly-held values, ideals and sincere beliefs.

I went through a period where I said, This isn't really the Republican party, but I don't really know how you sustain that when (Trump) is head of the Republican party and he's wildly popular in the Republican party, and it's a true statement that the Republican party is the party that endorses Roy Moore and attacks John Bolton.


What I really had to come to grips with is, How do you abandon deeply held beliefs in three or four years? And the only conclusion that I could come to is that the majority didn't believe this. Because I don't really think that you abandon beliefs. I just think it means that you didn't deeply hold them. And now, with Trump, it's not that we've sort of forgotten these things; we're actively against these things. We're the Character Doesn't Count party. We're the pro-Putin party. We're the anti-Free Trade party. We're the anti-personal responsibility party. And I just don't think we've seen anything like it in our modern politics: a total moral and issue collapse, a policy collapse, of a party like this.

And look, I finished this book about a year ago, and it's a pretty bleak portrait of the Republican party, but I would have to conclude today that I was overly optimistic. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the Republican Party platform would be to support Donald Trump on whatever he believes, and that's what they've done.

Trump is a gangster, and the party has gone along with this and has become a party that is in the service of a gangster mentality. And I think the period that we are entering now is the most dangerous period in American Democracy since the Civil War. Trump will do anything to hold onto power. Anything. And I'm the most anti-Conspiracy theory person in the world. But he's tested the Republican party to see if they would stand up to him and I think the conclusion he's come to is that he can pretty much do anything if he can give them power. And I think it's going to be a very, very tumultuous and dangerous period between now and when hopefully Trump loses.

It's a dark interview. I feel there is a bit of self-delusion on his part when he romanticizes the Republican party of the 90s, but I welcome his passionate criticism of Trumpism and repudiation of what the party has become.

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