Former Romney Chief Strategist Claims “Trump’s Republican Party is defined by racism and those who tolerate it”

In a new Op-Ed for USAToday, Stuart Stevens, former Romney chief strategist and a senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project claims “Trump’s Republican Party is defined by racism and those who tolerate it.”

Stevens writes:

About a year ago, I finished writing a book in which I posited that race was the original sin of the Republican Party and that the rise of President Donald Trump is based more on white grievance than any other factor. It was a conviction I’d come to after over 30 years of working in Republican politics, including five presidential campaigns. To me it seemed an inescapable if depressing reality.

My first campaign was for a congressional seat in Mississippi between a white Republican (my client), a white Democrat and a Black Independent. I quickly realized anything we could do to increase the profile of the African American would help divert votes from the Democrat to the Independent. It was our best play, since there was little we could do to attract African Americans to our own campaign.

That was a long time ago, and Republicans are still failing to win Black voters in substantial numbers. For decades the party admitted that was in fact a failure and at least attempted to change. But now it has settled into a comfortable embrace of white grievance and Trump is running as the Yankee George Wallace.

I’ve worked with a lot of candidates, and for all the hocus-pocus mystique about consultants pulling strings controlling campaigns, I’ve found that ultimately candidates do what they most want to do. This is never truer than when a candidate and campaign are under stress. It’s a natural instinct, the same phenomena of when someone who is multi-lingual reverts to their native tongue when most angry.

Still, I never expected Trump to base his re-election campaign around proving my thesis.

There are times when elections are, to borrow the Jerry Seinfeld description of his show, campaigns about nothing. For obvious reasons this tends to happen in times of peace and prosperity, with an electorate that is generally satisfied with the status quo.

Read more here.