This is a great book. However, before I tell you why I recommend it, I want to address the objections you might have. There are typos. There are things you will disagree with. Rick Wilson is a Never Trump conservative and that means he does not quite “fit” into either the Democratic or Republican box. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you why I think you should read Everything Trump Touches Dies.
It’s really, really well written. It provides painful insights about our country but does so with humor. For example, the author says that if the elite had wanted to stop him, Trump would have met the same end as befell “every other high-cray Facebook group like Tea Party Patriots Against the Soros Moon Base. (I know you’re about to search Facebook for TPPASM. The question isn’t whether that’s a real group. The telling factor is that in this era you think it might be.)” True and depressing? Of course. Hilarious way of putting things? Absolutely.
Wilson explains how politics gets made in Washington DC and the country at large. For me that was an eye-opener. He also provides a very astute critique of Trumpism when he points out that “for the Trump team, the new message is, ”I’m from the government and I’m here to punish the people you hate.’” That’s it. Exactly.
The book also offers some good (if unsolicited) advice to the Democratic Party. Wilson feels that that Democrats have a brand problem. Or, as he puts it, “Middle America scans the cliché New York-Boston-San Francisco liberal sneer as a judgment on their lives… Would it help expand the brand if you didn’t rub things in their face that may be normal in Berkeley but repulsive in Middle America? More than you think.” If you bristled at that, keep in mind that public pollsters say much the same thing when they tell us most Americans agree with Democrats on the issues but not on the (perceived) ideology. That’s how you get respondents supporting protections for people with pre-existing conditions but opposing Obamacare and supporting Medicare but opposing government healthcare. The pollsters and Wilson agree; Rick is just more direct about it.
The conversational (if parental guidance advised) tone of the book is yet another reason I recommend it. It is written in an eminently readable, conversational English. It’s also a very personal book. Rick Wilson talks about his family, mentions his Grandmother, and perhaps inadvertently describes the idealism that got him into politics. No, he does not consider himself an idealist; quite the contrary. But read this passage and tell me whether you agree with his self-assessment. “I remember reading [Newt Gingrich’s] Window of Opportunity, wowed by his embrace of technology, space travel, and industry and his leveraging America’s edge in the sciences…”To my mind at least, that passage was written by an idealist.
Yes, he ended up in a business that’s all about “Just win, baby” but after reading Everything Trump Touches Dies, I felt he got into that line of work for the right reasons. I doubt he would be a Never Trumper if that wasn’t the case. By becoming a Never Trump conservative, Rick gave up income, faced credible threats to himself, his clients and his family, saw his relationships with erstwhile conservatives (now Trumpers) fundamentally change.
Wilson knows personally the people he castigates and his disappointment with most of them is palpable. Though not everyone in Trump’s orbit earned Rick’s disdain. For example, Wilson has the utmost respect for General Mattis and pities Melania.
Rick Wilson ends with a vision of how we begin to heal after Trump. He hates crony capitalism and recommends we “take a meat ax to the legions of consultants conducting the business of government without any real accountability to Congress.” Along the same lines, Wilson urges us to once again adhere to the Constitution (“the national operating system”). He feels we need to reform the rentier state and tell “Americans we believe in them.” Hope is better than fear. And Americans are fundamentally optimistic.
It’s a harsh yet funny book. It brutally exposes the political mess we’re in and how we got here yet manages to end on a “militantly optimistic” note. I highly recommend it.
Product Description: Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever