In a Sunday column for USA Today, longtime Republican campaign consultant Stuart Stevens argued that Donald Trump’s rise has been fueled primarily by “white grievance” and a Republican Party that is defined by racism.
“It was a conviction I’d come to after over 30 years of working in Republican politics, including five presidential campaigns,” he wrote. “To me it seemed an inescapable if depressing reality.”
Stevens noted that the GOP is still struggling to win significant numbers of Black voters and has purportedly given up on attempting to create a strategy to do so. Instead, the strategist said that the party is embracing Trump and white identity politics.
The strategist also pointed to a recent poll that suggested only 18 percent of Americans believe that the country is moving in the right direction, and are concerned about the coronavirus pandemic and the destruction it has wreaked on the economy. Regardless, Stevens argued that Trump has decided to forgo an attempt to shift public perception and has dug his heels into the culture war.
“It’s clear his instinct is to make the 2020 election a cultural war, which in his interpretation is just a socially acceptable term for a race war.”
The Lincoln Project member also pushed back on suggestions that Trump’s apparent lack of discipline and erratic behavior is part of a grander game plan and claimed that the president is, in reality, a “blithering idiot” with “deep racial animosity.”
Author Michelle Goldberg expressed similar sentiments in a piece for The Mercury News last month. According to Goldberg, the Republicans who suggest that Trump is unfocused and without a plan are “missing the point” of his campaign, which she argues is to stoke racial division.
“The Republicans who support him are yoked to that strategy. Their real frustration isn’t that it’s ugly but that it’s no longer working.”
According to Max Boot, Trump is attempting to use the Southern Strategy, which was allegedly deployed in the 1960s by appealing to racism to gain Southerners and white voters from the Democratic Party.
Despite misgivings about his purported re-election plan, columnist Hugh Hewitt penned a piece for The Washington Post in which he argued that the November vote would come down to the president’s record, which he said is “strong.”
He pointed to the justices Trump has appointed to the Supreme Court, the tax cuts, his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, as well as his expansion of the military budget and his work with Israel.