In much of the right-wing media — from Fox News to AM talk radio to Breitbart — conservative condemnation of President Donald Trump is in painfully short supply. One usually has to go to outlets like MSNBC and the Washington Post to find people on the right who will forcefully critique the president. But GOP consultant Stuart Stevens is not shy about criticizing the direction of the Republican Party under Trump, and a Post op-ed published on New Year’s Day voices some of his complaints.
Stuart was a top strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, and he currently serves on a political action committee supporting Bill Weld’s challenge to Trump in the GOP primary.
“Trump didn’t hijack the GOP and bend it to his will,” Stevens asserts. “He did something far easier: he looked at the party, saw its fault lines and then offered himself as a pure distillation of accumulated white grievance and anger. He bet that Republican voters didn’t really care about free trade or mutual security, or about the environment or Europe, much less deficits. He rebranded kindness and compassion as ‘PC’ and elevated division and bigotry as the admirable goals of just being politically incorrect.”
Trump, according to Stevens, “didn’t make Americans more racist; he just normalized the resentments that were simmering in many households. In short, he let a lot of long-suppressed demons out of the box.”
The GOP, Stevens laments, “stands for all the wrong things now.”
“Republicans are now officially the character doesn’t count party, the personal responsibility just proves you have failed to blame-the-other- guy party, the deficit-doesn’t-matter party, the Russia-is-our-ally-party, and the I’m-right-and-you-are-human-scum party,” Stevens observes. “Yes, it’s President Trump’s party now, but it stands only for what he has just tweeted.”
Stevens laments that in 2020, he is pessimistic about the future of the GOP.
“This impeachment moment and all that has led to it should signal a day of reckoning,” Stevens writes. “A party that has as its sole purpose the protection and promotion of its leader, whatever he thinks, is not on a sustainable path. Can anyone force a change? I’m not optimistic.”