Listen to Rick Wilson

In the run-up to the Iowa caucuses (a period of time that has begun to seem interminable) and in the wake of the January Democratic debate, the identity of the Democratic party’s eventual nominee is still unknown. Whichever candidate emerges, however, he or she will face an incumbent and a party untethered to ethics and willing to employ a range of “dirty tricks” that far exceeds even the worst of what has gone before.

That nominee–and the Democratic Party–need to be prepared. They need to listen to Rick Wilson.

Wilson is a long-time Republican strategist. He is also one of the (comparatively few) “professional” Republicans who were horrified by Trump’s victory; he has spent the last three years advocating for a return to sanity and battling the conspiracy theories and “alternate facts” so beloved by Trump’s base. (I think–although I’m not sure–that he is the source of the “Vichy Republican” epithet widely used to describe Trump’s feckless GOP collaborators.)

Wilson has just come out with a new book: Running Against The Devil. His previous book was Everything Trump Touches Dies–the title doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity about Wilson’s opinion of The Donald, but just in case you didn’t pick up on his animus, he’s been quoted as saying that Trump will “go down in history with asterisks next to his name for endemic corruption, outrageous stupidity, egregious cruelty and inhumanity, for diminishing the presidency and the nation, and for being a lout with a terrible wig.”

Although I haven’t had a chance to read the new book, I did come across an informative review of it in The Guardian. Some excerpts:

Unlike most of the Washington reporters covering Donald Trump, Wilson, a Republican strategist and ad man, wastes no time trying to be fair or balanced about the career criminal who is the temporary occupant of the White House. His advice to Democrats is beautifully summarized in his epilogue:

Do not, as my party did, underestimate the evil, desperate nature of evil desperate people. Do not come to this fight believing that the Trump team views any action, including outright criminality, as off limits. [The 2020 election] is a battle that decides whether they have an unlimited runway to create a dynastic kleptocracy based on an authoritarian personality cult that makes North Korea look like Sweden, or whether the immune system of the Republic kicks in and purges them from the body public …

There is no bottom. There is no shame. There are no limits … He is surrounded by cowards with frightening and tremendous skills …

Wilson believes that the only thing that could save Trump in November would be a Democratic party “too stubborn, undisciplined and foolish to get out of its own way”–and those of us who follow such things know that such behavior on the part of the Democratic Party is a realistic possibility.

Democrats, in Wilson’s view, should emphasize foreign policy (a case that “makes itself”) and especially corruption.

Whether “it’s lobbyists for Wall Street banks, big coal, the payday loan industry, private prisons, or any other number of economic vampires, the Trump kakistocracy really does have something for everyone: nepotism, cronyism, pay-for-play, backroom deals for donors, abuse of power, lying to Congress … and as a bonus, monetizing cruelty to children.”

Trump, Wilson writes, is “sending a signal, loud and clear, that he’s for sale, satisfaction guaranteed.”

In November, we will see how many voters are buying the primary product Trump is selling–white supremacy and the demise of the American experiment.


  1. rick wilson ,raw and tallented. his words correct,as may be some humor to how they are used, hes spot on.. and, like i said before,its kleptocracy, is the plan. over decades of small stories,pieces that meshed with others,and damn good journalists who kept the story alive,and ongoing. since reagan we have seen a next to total failure in Washington,to never see this day.. the demos who,basically are pacifists,(in their minds)need some backbone now..Bernie looks like hes taken the gloves off,finally… wilsons look at the overall run here,makes the story..we either make it change,or we watch it all fail. every person who gave his life for the word democracy, died for its,lets see who the real patriots are,and how we are going to change it…

  2. Well Sheila,

    Can’t say it better than Rick Wilson, he calls it like he sees it, and he’s always had 2020 vision, LOL. I think everyone better have 2020 vision, because, 2020 will be the disembarkation point of civility.

    I always found this Scripture fascinating, it’s in 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-12 which reads; “But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders 10 and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. 11 That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.”

    I suppose, that there will be many individuals thinking this is ridiculous, but, look at Rick Wilson, he is a man who is recognizing that something else is at work, that there is a puppet master seemingly controlling the situations occurring now. I like Rick Wilson, he doesn’t mince words, and his insight is extremely accurate.

    Mental blindness is a condition that many people have, in, one degree or and other. ” This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them.”

    When you are a willfully blind person, eventually, the brain does not recognize truth or reality anymore.

    They then are more susceptible of what Timothy stated in 2nd Timothy 4:3, they will do their best to find teachers that tickle their ears, giving them what they want or need to hear. (Paraphrasing). And like Christ said in Matthew 15:14, “Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

    Rick Wilson recognizes what’s going on, everyone else should also! If you underestimate or refuse to know your enemy, your enemy will defeat you.

  3. The latest proposed Trump initiative came out yesterday when he openly advocated better means of bribing foreigners via relaxation of rules and regs in such connection. I responded with a why stop there, suggesting that we also repeal laws against murder, rape, larceny etc. in order to have a comprehensive approach and thus a speedy end of human civilization.

    Trump is far more than a domestic disaster. Look around at what his cheerleading of dictators around the globe has netted us (either as new grabs or doubling down on old ones) such as Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, China, not to mention already long existing dictatorships such as Russia (where Putin has just a few days ago orchestrated the “resignation” of Russia’s legislature in favor of his emperor for life status – a move which gives us a view of what our country would look like without an enforced Separation of Powers Clause in our Constitution, a constitution Trump would love to destroy in some 1984 fashion while assuming Big Brother status).

    To those who may think I am overreacting > That’s what the Good Germans thought. This guy has to go, not only for our benefit, but for the benefit of humanity everywhere. Next week we will see whether Republican politicians have the intestinal fortitude to do their constitutional duty or whether they are going to pretend that the disaster we are now experiencing in real time is merely an everyday political matter of Us v. Them, when the real deal is dictatorship v. democracy, and if they are successful they will have themselves committed political suicide. Big Brothers, speaking of Separation of Powers, don’t have legislatures.

  4. Adding to his litany of diabolical utterances, yesterday Trump warned his followers that “their 2nd Amendment rights were under very serious attack”. This while the FBI was trying to round up a bunch of traitors and anarchists before they could turn a demonstration in Virginia’s capitol from turning into a bloodbath.
    Oh yeah, there’s America’s “leader of the free world” urging insurrection by the armed bigots and racists among us. It’s enough to make you weep.

  5. Gerald, are you genuinely optimistic that the GOP will have the courage to hang Trump and face the dire consequences of his ignorant armed militants?

    I’d also like to ask Rick Wilson, who he thinks finances the DNC, because “armed vampires” don’t just finance Trump and the GOP. It’s why the Democratic Party would rather lose to Trump than have a Progressive win.

    The working class can’t rely on unions anymore, and the ones remaining are as corrupt as the DNC. And when I say corrupt, I mean the party and its politicians are captive by Wall Street to sustain Neoliberalism’s status quo even though “new forms of capitalism” are being touted by the World Economic Forum or the folks who attend Davos.

    There was an excellent article in Brooking’s this past week, which should be a topic of this blog. We need Democrats who embrace these policies versus Wall Street’s status quo Neoliberal capitalism:

    “Looking at the broader economic picture, taxation expert Edward Kleinbard offers a useful formulation: Are markets friendly to workers and serving society’s best interests, or are they a hostile force? Wages for most workers (except those at the top) have stagnated or declined in recent decades, even as costs for basic inputs to a stable life—such as health care, housing, and education—have skyrocketed. Market failures abound: Education and health care are out of reach for many, child care is often prohibitively expensive (even as child care workers are woefully underpaid), and decent, affordable housing is scarce in many regions. If society’s best interests are served by having people employed, housed, educated, and healthy, then we need to rethink the fundamentals of our economic and social policies.”

  6. Apart from Todd’s preoccupation with dystopia, it is much more important to realize, DNC incompetence and all, that we the people of this country are in a bar fight with no rules. Kind of like that final scene in “Saving Grace”, we civilized and decent people are up against the devil, or his non-religious equivalent. Donald Trump is a malignant carbuncle on the ass of humanity and he, due to his lack of normal brain function, is out to destroy all our institutions, our Constitution and the working people. He is doing these things in order to gain favor with the top tier, 1% moguls who have alway shunned him.

    The 1% have shunned the Trump family because of their sleaze, their disgusting behavior, their corrupt and illegal business practices and all the rest we see every day on the news. Any decency any of his supporters and acolytes once had has been wring out of them by the presence of all this evil. Giulliani, Graham, Meadows, Nunes, McConnell (If he was ever an honest broker of the Constitution), Pompeo, Ernst and all the other Republicans shaking in their political boots have totally and completely abrogated their souls, morals and ethics to the evil power monger in the Oval Office. THAT is the arena in which this bar fight is about to happen.

    Make no mistake, Democrats, you will be required to use your bare knuckles and roll around on the floor fighting like never before to rescue the “fair maiden” of our Constitution from the Devil himself. It’s time to get in shape for that brawl.

  7. From the Guardian article:

    “His lawlessness and contempt for ethics is a feature, not a bug. He ran as ‘too rich to be bought’ but governs as ‘Hey sailor, wanna date?’ … Trump’s venality and willingness to fleece the GOP rubes doesn’t repel them – it’s what attracts them.”

    The rubes can be the 1% who view President Agent Orange as “The Man” who not only made them richer with his tax cuts but will also protect them. There are the grifters, who travel in President Agent Oranges wake as he churns on at full speed, like Giuliani. In turn Giuliani has his own grifters in tow.

    The 1% are allied with the Bible Thumping Evangelicals who view President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence with the loyalty and zealotry that only fanatics can muster. I suspect at some point President Agent Orange has violated all of the Ten Commandments one way or another. The lies as President began shortly after his inauguration, when he announced the crowd was the biggest ever, even though photographs proved this was clearly wrong. A whole team, including his press secretary had to lie for him and were willing to do so in a stunning display of subservience and boot licking.

    The elected GOP officials have had to swear loyalty to President Agent Orange one way or another, the GOP base demands it. I do not see no matter how much evidence is piled on during the Senate Impeachment proceedings that President Agent Orange has anything to fear.

  8. The current DNC de facto leader is Nancy Pelosi who would never be described as a barroom brawler. She’s closer to being a surgeon methodically removing invasive cancer. That’s what she is doing now.

    She knows that the Putin/Trump/McConnell conspiracy to sell the country to the mega wealthy is capable of great cunning also and they have a choke hold on 51 Republican Senators some of which are coconspirators, some of which are simply riding the money train to wherever it takes them. They all know that they will rise or fall together but apart get crucified.

    Her political strategy is simply revealing the facts to the real jury, the American electorate, the majority of which is clear about their responsibility to save the country; vote blue no matter who.

    Of course whatever her success the Putin/Trump/McConnell team will continue their undercover work to empower minorities, white nationalists, TV evangelists, those who struggled with education except when accompanied by entertainment, those displaced by unavoidable progress, etc.

    As an observer these are much more exciting times that those available as TV entertainment. A chess grand master grandmother vs the crime family.

  9. I mentally evaluate pundits, politicians, reporters, authors, etc., as to where they might fall on a scale of 1 to 10 (top) in committing themselves to Patrick Henry’s most famous quotation. Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt both look like tens to me, and they, by my reckoning, have precious little company (maybe Bill Maher). When trump calls his heavily armed goons into the streets to overturn negative election results, Wilson and Schmidt’s aim will be focused on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. while most of us will position our rapidly retreating asses to point in that direction. My 70 year old .22 will be about as effective as a pea shooter, so even my age-related courage won’t count for much.

    Each of us may have that decision to make this coming November – perhaps the last decision relating to how we strongly we believe in democracy. Germany failed that test. Are we any more resolute? Let the pondering begin.

  10. Those who don’t think it’s vital to vote for the Democratic nominee, whoever he/she might be, please tell me why you believe it’s a good idea to give 45 four more years. Did you know that an additional 1400 people died last year from chronic lung conditions aggravated by dirty air? Did you know that children are not only dying, but are also subject to molestation, inhumane living conditions, and a myriad of other issues? Did you know the people of Yemen are being decimated by the military weapons we have provided to 45’s good friends, the Saudis? How many people have to die, before you decide he has to go?

  11. Speaking of Nancy, Pete, she still has one weapon that she hasn’t used yet in getting the Senate to listen to the cascading new evidence, and it is this. She could tell Mitch that she is going to have Schiff and his committee listen to such new evidence and, if warranted, send new articles to the Senate for trial of Trump. Some of the senators who are running this fall want this impeachment stuff in their wake so they can go home and campaign for reelection. Perhaps these senators, already taking heat for their predicted vote to acquit Trump, would vote to hear the new evidence rather than wait to be called back in session in July or August in the midst of their campaigning. There is nothing in the Constitution (statutes don’t work) which prevents the House from having a dozen impeachment sessions if they please. I would bet that she has considered this card to be played and wonder why she hasn’t played it yet.

  12. I have faith that Nancy P’s experience and cunning will position her well to have history honor her for saving the country from these times vs honoring Putin/Trump/McConnell for creating them.

  13. How do you mount a successful campaign in 2020 to rout Dunning-Kruger from the White House?

  14. I read both of Rick Wilson’s books, just finished his new one a few days ago. Wilson, for those of who don’t know him, is a GOP consultant who has worked on numerous campaigns, helping the Republican Party defeat the Dems in scores of races. He is truly horrified by Trump, and acknowledges he played a role in helping create an environment in which Trump could be elected.

    His political analysis is spot on. He points out what I’ve been saying all along. The 2016 election (as all contests involving possible re-election of an incumbent President) will be a referendum on that President. He says the notion the Democrats need a progressive on the ticket with grandiose liberal ideas to spur Democratic turnout is wrong, i.e. that opposition to Trump will already motivate Democratic turnout and has done so in a big way in every election since the 2016 election. Democrats need to go right after Trump with someone moderate to not turn off those voters who are itching for a chance to vote against Trump.

    In other words, Biden, Mayor Pete, Klobuchar…not Warren and especially not Sanders. As a Republican who desperately wants to see the Republic saved from the scourge Trump represents, I beg you Democrats not to nominate Sanders. Wilson thinks Sanders could lose 45 states. I think that estimate is far too high given Trump’s unpopularity, but I also don’t think , barring a steep recession in 2020, Sanders will not defeat Trump and we will have 4 more years of that fool.

    Wilson thinks the Democrat should go after Trump where he knows it will hurt, i.e. take advantage of Trump’s thin skin. For example, attacking Trump by pointing out he’s an incredibly horrible businessman (which is absolutely true) would set Trump off big time and throw him off his game. There are other issues.

    The books are excellent. My only quibbling with Wilson is that he engages in too much name-calling for my tastes. One of the knocks about Trump is his uncivil nature to politics, his engaging in constant name-calling. Well Wilson does a lot of that in his books. Of course, he isn’t President of the United States though.

  15. I meant to say: “I think that estimate is far too high given Trump’s unpopularity, but I also think , barring a steep recession in 2020, Sanders will not defeat Trump and we will have 4 more years of that fool.”

    Too many negatives in that previous sentence.

  16. Does anybody that frequents this blog believe Trump would abdicate the presidency if he loses in 2020? He would rather tear the country to shreds than lose. Unfortunately, the executive branch has a lopsided share of our triune government. So, with the absence of any shred of decency by those who are supposed to have oversight in the Senate, he can and will refuse to admit defeat. Has anyone ever given a thought as to why Donald Trump wanted to have Eric Prince recruit a private army that would be answerable only to the president? Brownshirts? Night of the Long knives? The cascade has gained so much momentum, it’s very difficult to see how this ends in a positive light. In 1933, the burning down or the gutting of the Reichstag (German parliament) was a key launching point for the Nazi party. They blamed the Communists, although it was later on admitted to being a false flag operation by the Nazis themselves. They were able to retract civil rights, and spend the civil liberties in Germany. Including but not limited to habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly and the privacy of German mail and telephone. Adolf Hitler called the fire, a sign from God!

    Does any of this sound familiar? Can’t everyone see history repeats itself? Can’t you see the pieces have been put in place already to prevent the current POTUS abdication of his position? The Germans also had their own “executive order” provision, it was called the enabling act, which would allow the Chancellor to espouse edicts and bypass parliament.

    You don’t think that they were/are aware of the power of Executive Order? Why do you think they roiled against Barack Obama using that very authority? Why do you think they love Donald Trump for using that very authority? Who is the American version of Goebbels and Goring? They manipulated parliamentary rules to allow passage of acts and laws to shore up the enabling act.

    The current American actors have just changed the names to promote their history repeating treason. All of this done right UNDER the nose of everyone, can anyone say “Squirrel?” You don’t think that there are other powers that have been brought to bear? The Germans were deeply into the occult and also into manipulating religion, what’s happening now? It wasn’t a bloodless dismantling of government in Germany, and it won’t be a bloodless dismantling of government in the United States.

  17. John Sorg,
    Re: Does anybody that frequents this blog believe Trump would abdicate the presidency if he loses in 2020?

    Yes. I posted such a prediction in 2016 on Facebook. I posted repeats of my prediction several times here on this blog in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

    What I heard back was silence … and a couple of suggestions that I be banned from Facebook.

    Notice how Trump plays the Defense Department like a favorite mistress …. all the better to trust that the US military will support him when he refuses to step down. Prince’s private army is only one of 300+ private armies in the US, nearly all of which will support a Trump takeover. And that does not count the 10,000 assorted crazy militias scattered around the US, often lost. Plus, some of these private armies now have added private air force, private navy, private intelligence and private counterintelligence divisions.

    Note, also: Trump has shuffled top Generals so that military leadership will not object to his takeover. However, I predicted and stand by my prediction that Trump has misjudged the Generals. They will be the one US entity that will stand up to him, and it will be generals who escort him from office.

  18. I really like Rick Wilson’s commentaries, although I haven’t read his books. However, any suggestion by him, or my friend Paul, that Democrats need to be the party of Reagan strikes me as off. I don’t tell the Republicans what their party needs to be (Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Milliken) and I don’t want advice from them. I am a life-long Democrat, the party of FDR, LBJ (except the war) and RFK. Americans liked those policies.

    Still, I would worry if Bernie was nominated. It wouldn’t be McGovern redux. As I mentioned before, it was McGovern the candidate and not his positions that got bashed, just as it was Reagan the actor and not his positions that got him elected (except perhaps for his dog whistled racism). I think there could have been better candidates representing the Progressive wing of the party, but Sanders and Warren are it. As for the Center-right wing (they are moderate only after a huge rightward swing of the Overton Window), I think Pete is more progressive than Klobuchar and Biden, but he is now positioned as part of the “moderate” wing (we love to create dichotomies – nuance is too difficult).

    And as for the Hollywood fantasies – Trump is not going to stage a coup and he has totally alienated the Pentagon brass. He will spend the rest of his life screaming and tweeting that the election was stolen by the evil left-wing, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-whatever radicals — even if it is from a jail cell. Similarly, any notions by Bernie’s people that a Trump re-election will result in a revolution by the masses is equally a Hollywood script.

    I have two predictions. Democrats stay focused and united around whatever nominee – Democrats win; Democrats be their historically disorganized selves, with a circular firing squad – god help America. I do strongly suspect the former path.

  19. Larry,

    Sorry, I’m really really new to this site as you well know. I’m sorry that folks would not take you seriously, or try to ban you from Facebook. Or suggest you be banned from Facebook anyway.

    King Solomon said there’s nothing new under the Sun. Now he wasn’t talkin about inventions, he was talking about human nature. The evil man does to himself and his neighbors, so nothing new.

    That being said, all you have to do is look at history. The lessons of history show that repeats itself constantly. This time is no different, naysayers beware.

    The Virginia governor declared a state of emergency because of all of the militia wandering into the state. They are there for a reason, to intimidate and make a statement.

  20. Len,

    I don’t think anyone is asking the Democratic Party to be the party of Reagan. As far as why should Democrats listen to Republicans about winning elections, Rick Wilson specifically addresses that point. He gave the example that If Bill Belichick were to offer advice on how the Patriots have won all those Super Bowls over the years, would other NFL teams be fools not to listen? Yes they would! Rick Wilson goes into detail about how issues are going to play out and how the Ds can avoid the pitfalls that have cost them elections. You don’t have to give away your principles to listen to and head that advice.

  21. OK. So … each of us wax on eloquently for all the right socio-economic issues. Bravo. You lost the election. To win, how do you message a campaign to bring the poster man child afflicted with Dunning-Kruger to his knees in the swing States of The Electoral College?

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