- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (February 26, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1982103140
- ISBN-13: 978-1982103149
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
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- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever Paperback – February 26, 2019
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"Scalpel in hand, a conservative strategist dissects Trumpism, the Washington, D.C., swamp, and the new GOP. The autopsy report isn't pretty...Wilson's insider take is hilarious, smartly written, and usually spot-on. Somebody had to do it." -- ―Kirkus Reviews
“A searingly honest, bitingly funny, comprehensive answer to the question we find ourselves asking most mornings: ‘What the hell is going on?’…. A fascinating, fierce and fearless exposition of the political mess America finds itself in today.” -- ―The Chicago Tribune
“His raw-brawling style and deftly articulated rage…have made Wilson an unexpected darling of the left, and a kind of Cassandra in steel-toed boots for his own party…. The book is a clarion call to conservatives about how ‘Kim Jong Don's’ reverse-Midas touch is ‘an Orwellian erasure of what conservatism represents’ that will define the party for generations to come.” -- ―The Week
“Hear the sizzle? That’s the sound of Wilson, Republican strategist and now Never-Trumper, burning the president, his family, cabinet, and GOP stalwarts.” -- ―Booklist
“Veteran GOP political strategist Wilson, who for decades was a top Republican attack dog and was the guy the party relied on to craft its message and strategy, offers a scathing, profane, unflinching, and laugh-out-loud funny rebuke of Donald Trump and his presidency...those who share his views will find this rewarding.” -- ―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Rick Wilson is a seasoned Republican political strategist and infamous negative ad-maker. His regular column with The Daily Beast is a must-read in the political community. Published in The Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, The Federalist, Independent Journal Review, he’s also a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, With Friends Like These, and the national networks. The author of Everything Trump Touches Dies, Rick Wilson lives in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife, four dogs, and a nameless cat. They have two grown children.
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But that’s enough about Wilson. Here’s a taste of his ranting: “Everything we Never Trump folks warned you of, including massive, decades-long downstream election losses is coming. Alienating African Americans and Hispanics beyond redemption? Check. Raising a generation of young voters who are fleeing the GOP in droves? Check. Age-old beefs, juvenile complaints, and ego bruises taking center stage while the world burns? Check. Playing public footsie with white supremacists and neo-Nazis? Check. Blistering pig-ignorance about the economy and the world? Check. Pushing a tax bill that jacks economic inequality into the stratosphere? Check. Shredding the last iota of the GOP’s credibility as a party that cares about debt, deficits, and fiscal probity? Check.”
Interestingly, Wilson, who calls himself a master of political attack ads, acknowledges that he and his colleagues within the grown-ups wing of the Republican Party—he includes William Kristol and George H. W. Bush in this group—bear responsibility for what Wilson definitely considers Trump’s desecration of conservative politics and principles. Although Republicans, according to Wilson, have long tried to exploit the dark forces in American politics, they have, until Trump, always succeeded in corking the bottle after using racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and class resentment to win elections. Then came the 2008 Presidential election. Wilson observes:
o “The creature that emerged after Sarah Palin… in 2008 kept growing, hungry not for policy victories that realigned the regulatory state, but for liberal tears, atavistic stompy-foot rages…”
o “…we fed the monster and trained it. I know how patronizing that sounds, the thought that we could activate and—call it what it is—manipulate voters. Well, we did. As the tools of data, targeting, and analytics improved, we got very, very good at it.”
o “We kept feeding the monster. We rewarded its darkest impulses. We brought it out when the time was right. The portfolio of messages, political rhetoric, and communication venues we built constituted a suite of powerful political tools.”
o “Then Trump came along. We lost control of those tools, the party, and the movement. The monster is out of its cage, and new trainers (both here and in Russia) encourage only its dumbest, darkest, most capricious, cruel, and violent behavior.”
In his epilogue, Wilson posits two possible paths forward for American politics. The first he calls his Mad Max Outcome, which includes Donald Trump Jr. named as President in 2024 and the mysterious death of Rick Wilson in the crash of a small airplane. In contrast, he calls his second option the Big Reset and imagines the emergence of a new conservative movement in American politics. This second option, BTW, is the least persuasive element in ETTD since the Republican Party, in renouncing racism and resentment, becomes the conservative movement led by Bill Buckley, who was principled and quirky and never in power. Wilson gets the final word.
“When Trump slithered down the golden escalator in his eponymous tower in 2015, I felt bile rising in my throat. This guy? This jackass? I was quite sure nothing had changed about his blustering ego, fever-swamp birtherism, and con-artist modus operandi. Given the ideological underpinnings of Trumpism—slurry of barely coherent nationalism, third-world generalissimo swagger, and the worst economic ideas of the 19th century—I recognized that he was an existential risk to the country, win or lose.”
You also hear him claiming that Obama supporters are just as cult like as Trump supporters. Sorry, Obama was a principled statesman of the left. Therefore people liking him a lot is not the same thing as people cheering and blindly devoting themselves to a bigot, conman, and traitor. He can’t get over his derangement as he continually tries to draw this false analogy between rational support for a Obama to the death cult that surrounds Trump.
As for fiscal conservatism he lionizes Reagan a man who increased our national debt by 300 percent in 8 years. He also doesn’t mention how you can trace the income inequality he complains about to the birth of Reaganomics of the 80s. He doesn’t talk about the 4 trillion dollar war crime and hunt for imaginary WMDs.
In short the Republican Party was not this great non racist, competent, fiscally Conservative party before Trump. It’s like the Bush debacle and the Second Republican Great Depression of 2007 never happened and Trump destroyed this mythical world of a principled, non racist, non stupid GOP.
Great read, enjoyable, right on Trump. But a total cop out of the inherent racism of the right prior to Trump. The GOP was plenty bad before Trump, and it got much, much worse after it.
Top international reviews
Luckily, Mr. Wilson apparently gets over his rage sufficiently that this is exactly what occurs, and the book settles into a much better balance of cutting analysis seasoned with the occasional put down. This is when the book took a turn from "entertaining" to "good", and I found myself sneaking in reading time whenever I could. Mr. Wilson methodically and thoroughly examines the myriad aspects of the Trump Extended Universe, exposing their dysfunction and failure with the eye of a seasoned veteran that used to play for the same team. And BTW, Democrats don't escape his notice in his analysis of what's gone wrong.
Two aspects of the book really stuck in my mind, both of which are near the end:
First, I found Mr. Wilson's likening of current mainstream Republicanism to the French Vichy government under the Nazis to be the perfect summation of the puzzling capitulation of Republicans to Trump and his followers, although the unspoken (but apt) parallels between the Free French and Never Trumpers has a slight whiff of self-aggrandizement.
Second, in the section where Mr. Wilson explores best/worst case scenarios in the wake of Trump, I found Mr. Wilson's exploration of the worst-case to be a missed opportunity. He treats it largely as a comic exercise (but one that oddly might still come to pass in the insane world of Trump), and not the chance to really discuss what's potentially at stake. Given the players and the attitudes some embody, it seems to me that civil war isn't out of the question for the nation's future, and hence his worst-case exploration could have really benefited from a more serious treatment from him, given his knowledge of the players and circumstances.
But those misgivings aside, this is a highly enjoyable and engaging book that's well worth the read.
Just started reading it, like it so far, interesting view on the man who doesn't seem to be able to tell the truth..