Schmidt: Trump Still Dangerous
Editor's Note: Steve Schmidt is one of the founding members of the Lincoln Project. He is a communications and public affairs strategist who has worked on several Republican campaigns, including John McCain's 2008 bid for the White House, and he is now a regular political contributor to MSNBC. On Friday, Schmidt wrote an important 11-tweet thread warning Americans of the danger Donald Trump still poses to this nation. MaxNewsToday has assembled these tweets and reprinted them as one easy-to-read op-ed for our ongoing segment, Schmidt Storm. This thread has been edited for grammar and clarity. Today is the third day of profoundly stupid media coverage around the demise of the Trump blog. How should we assess Trump in this moment, and specifically how do we gauge his relative power and influence? Some have posited that Trump’s loss, social-media bans and inability to sustain a blog are evidence of his decline, irrelevance and diminishment. Many of these people have argued that saying Trump’s name out loud is what fuels and sustains the Trump threat. All we need to do, they claim, is treat him like Voldemort. So long as no one speaks his name out loud, no problem. These people are fools and their delusions are dangerous for the survival of American democracy. We are at an hour that requires people to wake up. Trump is powerful, and he is a clear and PRESENT danger to our democratic society and national stability. Trump has the ability to kill and destroy with the spoken word. His words; his lies, delusions and conspiracy theories, have caused bloodshed. That is what happened on January 6th. His words will surely kill again. Trump is the leader of an authoritarian movement made up of an eclectic mix of extremists, including Proud Boy fascists, Neo Nazis, white nationalists, religious fanatics and conspiracy theorists. The Republican Party is the vessel of this movement, and the membership of that party is overwhelmingly united around the cause of Trump. Trump is not just the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. He is the presumptive nominee. Trump is in command of the party lock, stock and barrel. The elected officials of the Republican Party are obedient soldiers in Trump’s cult of personality, which can be measured in the tens of millions of people. This movement has become faithless to American democracy, and it requires an almost Trumpian level of historical ignorance to not recognize it as one of the gravest threats the country has ever faced. Trump’s power and influence is both frightening and real. It has been said that there are no dumb ideas. There are. High on the list is the notion that Trump's failed blog evidences his waning power. It doesn’t. It means nothing. A Trump indictment will not kill off Trump or his movement. It will simply hasten his candidacy. When he becomes a candidate again, Facebook and Twitter will lift their well-earned bans. We are in the early years of a great struggle in this country that will last a long time, provided the pro-democracy side can win elections, because we are one away from seeing the autocratic side take power. They will not relinquish it again when they do. The GOP was not chastened by January 6th. It has grown more extreme, and it is on track to take back control of the House in 2022. The pro-democracy coalition won a great victory when Joe Biden became President. That victory has bought us some time, but all the time in the world can’t cure a willful and delusional blindness to the great danger, resilience, ambition and authoritarianism of Trump's movement.