How Donald Trump captured the Republican Party

INSURRECTION How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Wanted By Jeremy W. Peters When Donald Trump announced his candid...


INSURRECTION
How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Wanted
By Jeremy W. Peters

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on the morning of June 16, 2015, there was no indication that the event would alter American political history. Experts dismissed Trump’s chances. He voted at 4%; Fox News chief Roger Ailes suggested Trump was really looking for a job at NBC, not the White House.

But Trump made an impression on Steve Bannon, a voluble conservative activist plotting his own takeover of the Republican Party. Watching the reality TV star deliver remarks from the Trump Tower food court to a crowd that reportedly included actors who had been paid $50 to hold signs and cheer, Bannon couldn’t stand himself. contain. “It’s Hitler!” said Banon. And like Jeremy W. Peters written in this peppy new story, “he meant that as a compliment.”

“Insurgency” chronicles the Republican Party’s surprisingly rapid transformation from the genteel reserve of pro-business elites to a fractious cult of personality that sees the January 6 insurrection as an exercise in legitimate political discourse. Peters, a political reporter for the New York Times, portrays mainstream Republicans’ surrender to Trumpism as a form of political self-flagellation. From 1969 to 2008, Republicans occupied the White House for almost 12 years. And yet, “one of the most peculiar characteristics of American conservatism is that despite decades of Republican rule, many true believers became bitter and resentful of their party. They believed it was led by leaders in the weak-willed who compromised and sold themselves once in power.

The contours of the Republicans’ hard right turn are now widely known. What sets “Insurgency” apart is its mix of political acumen and behind-the-scenes intrigue. Much of the book’s opening material revolves around the first national figure to channel grassroots anger: former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who could have prevented Trump’s rise had she chosen to run for president in 2012. Trump was sufficiently concerned about Palin’s potential to claim the title of populist standard-bearer that he invited her to Trump Tower in 2011 “to gauge her in person.” He concluded that while she had “tremendous political appeal, she didn’t know what to do about it.”

Trump, of course, did. Peters is a fluid and engaging writer, and as the narrative of “Insurgency” unfolds and Trump inevitably, irresistibly takes center stage, you almost can’t help but admire – as Bannon did. – the candidate’s raw and demagogic genius: “Devoid of empathy, incapable of humility and unfamiliar with what it means to suffer consequences, he behaved and spoke in a way that most would not dare In a hugely fascinating section, Peters details how Trump defused the furor over the “Access Hollywood” tape by ambushing Hillary Clinton with her husband’s accusers during the second presidential debate in St. Louis. came about thanks to a “norm-breaking” partnership between the Trump campaign and Aaron Klein36-year-old reporter for Bannon’s website, Breitbart News, who tracked down the women and coaxed them into attending.

“In the history of modern presidential politics, no candidate had pulled off such a ruthless act of revenge in public,” Peters writes. “It was a game-changer, proving to Trump and his allies that there was no longer anything forbidden.” Klein’s role in Trump’s upset victory was so pivotal that Jared Kushner later told him, “My stepfather wouldn’t be president without you.”

Anecdotes like these make “Insurgency” worth reading, though it’s harder to tell who would want to. The book contains too many examples of Trump’s obvious flaws to please true MAGA believers, but not enough revelations about outright criminality to satisfy veterans of the #resistance. With the specter of a 2024 Trump candidacy looming, the rest of us could use a break while we can still get one. “He just dominates every day,” Bannon told Trump advisers in 2020, warning of voter burnout with the president. “It’s like a nightmare. You will do anything to get rid of it. Easier said than done.

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Newsrust - US Top News: How Donald Trump captured the Republican Party
How Donald Trump captured the Republican Party
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