Top critical review
January 16, 2020
I have to admit that I wasn't familiar with Rick Wilson until fairly recently; in other words, I didn't know
who he was. Apparently he specialized in making negative ads, such as showing the influence of Rev.
Jeremiah Wright on President Obama. Then he focused his efforts against the current commander in
chief. The title "Everything Trump Touches Dies" shows that he's not a fan, and I didn't read it since there's
plenty of anti-Trump stuff out there. But this sequel is topical, since we're finally in 2020. There are a lot of
"GOP strategists" who actually aren't that anymore. Morning Joe often has a lady named Susan Del Percio,
and there are Mike Murphy, Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, and of course Ana Navarro. Besides them, there
are writers like David Frum, Bill Kristol, George Will (no longer GOP), Max Boot, and who could forget, Jennifer
Rubin. But the actual GOP supports the Donald at over 90%. Wilson says that the party has gotten smaller, as
the non-Trump supporters have left the party.
He is funny, although the humor is a bit mean-spirited, and offers scenarios on things that could happen
in American politics in the remainder of 2020. Wilson also appears to be quite smart, and like Michael Wolff,
occasionally makes obscure references or uses vocabulary that I had to look up on Google. In the smartphone
era, that's not a big deal. There's lots of vulgarity, as another review pointed out.
The main arguments are that the election is a referendum on Trump, and Democrats need to focus on the
electoral college, not the popular vote. They need to forget, at least for now, about the progressivist fantasy
of getting rid of the electoral college, which is what the Founding Fathers established because this is the
United States, a union of individual states.
Wilson points out that the woke progressivism of the Dems is far to the left of the American people on issues
like abortion (especially late term, which Donald points out), guns, the Green New Deal, climate change, free college, and
Medicare For All, and of course gender pronouns.
While Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (and Ilhan Omar) represent the woke socialism of the Twitter age,
"Comrade Bernie" is just an old school Commie and prevents any criticism of Cuba, Venezuela,
and other socialist or Communist regimes. Surprisingly, Wilson is more positive about Liz Warren,
although the "600 page" policies get in the way of emotional appeal. It seems to me that Warren is
even further left than Sanders on the cultural issues such as feminism. Biden seems like a candidate
who could fit in with Wilson's strategy. There's more emphasis on Kamala Harris than Pete Buttigieg,
so maybe the book was mostly composed last summer or fall. There's little on foreign policy. And
the Democrats need to admit that as with Hillary, their candidates lack the charisma of JFK, Bill
Clinton or Obama. They tend to win elections when they have an unusually talented candidate.
They don't, so a lot of strategy is needed.
A main point of strategy is not to spend resources of time and money on the states that are already
decide on either side. On the Democratic side, this means California, New York, Massachusetts, and
one might add Vermont, even though it's smaller in population. The same is true of constituencies-
he says for the Democrats to leave the evangelicals alone, but Catholics and mainline Protestants
are still in play. Wilson really knows the details, not only in Florida but places like Michigan, with
Macomb and Oakland county and all the suburban women. He is completely opposed to Trump's
trade war, but it was a response to what China has been doing for decades. Pat Buchanan brought
trade up in the 1992 primary, and then Ross Perot capitalized in the general election. The economy
is good, but Wilson says the trade war has hurt important constituencies in middle America.
There's a lot of entertaining stuff on QAnon, Russian bots, Sharia law, etc. He is a master of hyperbolic
rhetoric, like the subject of his work.
Wilson really knows his consultants, such as Roger Stone, Roger Ailes (recently deceased founder
of Fox News Channel), Mary Matalin (who led Bush 41's campaign and married Clinton's strategist
James Carville), and Kellyanne Conway. He seems to speak of Ann Coulter as if she's Laura Ingraham.
While she began her punditry as a "troll", Coulter actually does care about issues like immigration, and
criticizes Trump when she thinks not enough is being done. There's also a lot on advisors Steve Bannon,
Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.
An interesting fact was how the Green Party candidates are set up from the Republican side. Wilson
says that Democrats should support Justin Amash for the libertarians to take away some votes. He
also says Tulsi Gabbard could be a spoiler, and that the biggest one is Bernie Sanders, whom Wilson
appears to blame for the loss of support for Hillary among Democrats.
The strategy, as the title of the book shows, relies quite literally upon demonization of one's opponents
and their supporters. Whether this will lead to a better America is a question to consider.