The following is a remarkably powerful, articulate, and insightful tweet by Steve Schmidt, a founder of the Lincoln Project and the former Republican campaign manager for the 2008 John McCain for President Campaign. If you didn’t see it, I wanted to post it here for the record.
I have followed Schmidt closely over the last several years, and no one speaks as clearly and defiantly as he does about the corrosive illiberalism, authoritarianism, and corruption of Donald Trump and his followers.
The following was posted this morning (January 4) on the Daily Dos:
“Steve Schmidt, the former Republican strategist and newly minted member of the Democratic Party, went on Twitter Sunday evening to explain how January 6 will spell doom for the Republican Party. Much like the Whigs before them, the Republicans are about to plunge into a civil war that will pit the authoritarian and anti-authoritarian factions against each other.
Being the ultimate insider and political operative, Schmidt knows the Republican Party as well as anyone. He successfully weaves the historical parallels and understanding of the inter party factions.
As we know, he was the campaign manager for a campaign that gave us the proto-Trump, Sarah Palin, but he was known to have resisted her as the choice for VP and appears to have been aware of the potential danger that Palin represented and is now working to fight the anti-democratic urges that she and her political spawn, Donald Trump, represent.
The fact is, there is only one viable option at the moment for anyone willing to fight authoritarianism, and that is through the Democratic Party. Schmidt may not agree with us on many policy goals, but we can all agree that this is a perilous moment for Democracy.
This is a tweet thread by Schmidt. To be clear, he is not predicting the Republican Party is going to dissolve overnight or that this failed coup attempt will not cause significant damage. For all of those who think 2021 will be a cakewalk compared to 2020, think again. There will be an epic fight unfolding to preserve the nation as we know it.
2021 will be a hard year in the life of the American nation. There is a great struggle that lies before us, and our disbelief at its arrival must not blind us to the lethal danger it poses to the American experiment. The poisonous bounty of Trump’s catastrophic presidency is ready for harvest, and the whole world will get to watch his seditious antics play out during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6th. It will play out as a farce, and it will fail. Nearly 100 years on, America will have its version of the Beer Hall Putsch. The danger lies in the act, not the outcome. We are in a dangerous moment, and I’d like to try my best to explain how I see it. Before I start, there is an important matter of fact which unfortunately needs restating. Joe Biden won the presidential election decisively. The election was free, fair and legitimate. There is no evidence of any widespread fraud. Allegations of fraud are premeditated lies being made by a rancid assortment of Trump’s stooges and propagandists. With the exception of a few of the more addled House GOP members, like Louis Gohmert, every single House Member and every U.S. Senator that participates in denying this reality, and thus the legitimacy of our election, does so as a cynical act, which they know for certain has no legitimate basis. Such actions are a grievous sin against American democracy and a brutal betrayal of their oaths of office and duty. They will be desecrating the blood sacrifices of 13 generations of American patriots of all creeds and origins who died so that our children could be free. They are fighting to maintain the power of a defeated president against the sovereign will of the American people, as lawfully exercised under the Constitution of the United States. They are fighting to establish a tyranny. They are deliberately poisoning faith and belief in American democracy. Democratic Republics cannot survive such a collapse. The system is rooted in the willingness of one side to cede power to another at the will of the people. There are no other systems of government except for this type that are free. The legitimacy of that system is being strangled by Trump’s lies and the lies of his movement. That movement is an autocratic one with fascistic markers. It is hostile to the American Constitution, the rule of law and the highest ideas and ideals of American liberty. Jan. 6 will be an historic day in America. The battle lines will be drawn. The autocrats will step forward into the light. They will include a majority of the House GOP conference. After the 6th, Kevin McCarthy will be the leader of House autocrats, and Liz Cheney will be the leader of House conservatives. They will include a substantial number of GOP Senators, and almost all of the known GOP presidential aspirants. The Rubicon will be crossed on the 6th. The ruthless and amoral cynicism of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and James Lankford and Josh Hawley will be on appalling display. It must be opposed fiercely. It must be recognized for what it is. Another storm is gathering in the constant struggle between liberty and her enemies. Trump has unleashed the fury and has found his following. It will be a long fight. At the hour of his defeat and defenestration, Trump has done his greatest damage. This is a movement that is fueled by lies, conspiracies, corruption, greed, extremism, racism, grievance, resentment, cynicism and a profound absence of love for America. It is right to feel anger and contempt toward its leaders and enablers. There is only one proposition that America’s pro-democracy coalition can offer to these people. “We win-you lose.” It’s that simple. Sedition is the precise word, and the right word, to describe what we have been witnessing. Never before have so many American leaders betrayed their country. We will watch their eternal disgrace on live TV. The evidence of their ignominy will exist forever, as will the memory of their monumental betrayal. Shame on them all.”
Barbara Mutterperl said:
Thanks for reprinting. Heather Cox Richardson has a take on the Republican Party in her Dec 30 newsletter. Best I’ve read. Very long. I’m happy to send to you.