I’m sure some conservatives will take with Ezra Klein (cofounder of Vox) hosting the podcast. But regardless, the conversation with Stevens is a stinging indictment and lays the case clearly why the GOP must either reform or thrive on chaos - an informative listen from an insider.
Stevens talks about how the basis of GOP policy, supply side economics - tax cuts, was always lie since it never worked. Tax cuts were never met with equal spending cuts, went mostly to the rich, and increased the deficit every time. This policy did not match with increasing income inequality so the party was forced to rely more more on fear, tribalism and identity politics issues.
"For 30 years, Stuart Stevens was one of the most influential operatives in Republican politics. He was Mitt Romney’s top strategist in 2012, served in key roles on both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, and worked on dozens of congressional and gubernatorial campaigns — building one of the best winning records in politics. Then Stevens watched his party throw its support behind a man who stood against everything he believed in, or thought he believed in.
Most dissidents from Trumpism take a familiar line: They didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left them. But for Stevens, Trump forced a more fundamental rethinking: The problem, he believes, is not that the GOP became something it wasn’t; it’s that many of those within it — including him — failed to see what it actually was. In Stevens’s new book, It Was All a Lie , he delivers a searing indictment of the party he helped build, and his role in it.
This is a conversation about the Republican Party’s past, present, and future. Stevens and I discuss the differences between the Democratic and Republican coalitions, whether party elites could have prevented Trump’s rise, the power the GOP base holds, the relationship between tax cuts for the rich and white identity politics for the poor, where the party can and can’t go after Trump, the GOP operatives trying to put Kanye West on the 2020 ballot, how Stevens played the race card in his first campaigns, why Romney lost while Trump won, and more."