The Seven Aspects of Trumpism
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 Saturday, Schmidt broke down what he says are the seven specific aspects that comprise the core of Trumpism over a series of 13 tweets. MaxNewsToday has assembled this thread and reprinted it as one easy-to-read op-ed for our ongoing segment, Schmidt Storm. It has been edited for grammar and clarity. Trumpism is an American autocratic movement with fascistic markers. There are seven specific parts that comprise its core. 1. THE LEADER: Donald Trump is the unquestioned leader of this movement. It is a cult of personality, and there are no serious challengers against his leadership. 2. THUGS: The Proud Boys are but one example in a toxic stew of heavily-armed militias, white nationalists and other right-wing extremists. As is always the case, their ranks are filled with people on the fringes of society; the lonely, dispossessed, aggrieved and resentful. Not so long ago, there would have been a near-societal consensus around describing these people as losers. These people bring the menace of violence to politics and are akin to the same thuggish rabble that were wearing brown and black shirts 100 years ago. 3. ELITES: All autocratic movements fuse an unholy alliance between society’s elites and losers. It is a coalition of convenience between two groups who despise each other, yet need each other. The boundless cynicism of the elites and the endless grievances of the losers becomes an unbreakable cement. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are perfect examples. Hawley graduated from Stanford and Yale Law School. He taught at Oxford and clerked for the Chief Justice of the United States. Ted Cruz graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School. They have become completely faithless to their oaths and American democracy in the name of their ambition. They have no convictions, only self-interest. 4. PROPAGANDISTS: Autocratic movements are built on and sustained by lies. Political lying and conspiracy theories have become billion-dollar businesses. Fox News, Newsmax, One America News Network, social media, talk-radio dividers, Infowars, and others have poisoned the American polity and created the conditions for Trump to create an alternate reality that is now a lethal threat to American liberty. 5. FINANCIERS: This autocratic movement is financed by donations from some of America’s largest and best-known companies and brands in the form of millions of dollars of donations to the entities that fund the political careers of the men and women who will soon be rising on the floor of the United States Congress to betray American democracy. AT&T and Charles Schwab are two such companies. The list includes some of America’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals. Mostly, they are disconnected from any interest or idea of the public good other than the selfishness of self-interest. 6. RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS: Trump has surrounded himself with a group of loony, corrupt, hateful, sacrilegious charlatans that make a mockery of decency and goodness with every public utterance. 7. SHEEP: None of what is happening could happen without the silent complicity of a legion of men and women who lack the conviction, guts and integrity to stand up against Trump's mean tweets and thousands of indecent, corrupt, cruel and incompetent acts. These men and women are no different than all of their predecessors who found collaboration with what they knew to be immoral or evil as more convenient than resisting it. They are the weaklings and appeasers. They are the fools and the naïve. They are the blind for whom what is obvious and true is far less preferable to delusion and pretend. In order to win the fight, we must understand: 1. Why are we fighting? 2. Who are we fighting? We must be clear-eyed about this. The stakes are too high.