cover image It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump

It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump

Stuart Stevens. Knopf, $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-525658-45-0

Political consultant Stevens, a strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, debuts with a searing critique of the current state of the Republican Party. Contending that Donald Trump’s rise calls the GOP’s fundamental integrity into question, Stevens connects Trumpism to the rhetoric and policies of predecessors including Joe McCarthy and Newt Gingrich. In reviewing the party’s “Southern strategy” of appealing to former Democrats aggrieved by the civil rights movement, Stevens admits to playing the race card in his first congressional campaign in 1978, when he promoted a rival candidate in a successful effort to split the black vote between the Democratic incumbent and an African-American challenger. He questions the Republican Party’s commitment to family values, fiscal prudence, and intellectual rigor, successfully illustrating the gap between rhetoric and reality. Stevens, who claims to have amassed “the best win-loss record of anyone in my business,” admits to having been duped by Republican candidates who professed conservative principles but abandoned them in order to “embrac[e] a racist unprepared to be president”—a confessional quality that distinguishes this account from others by center-right figures. Readers hoping that the post-Trump GOP charts a new path will savor this thoughtful exposé. (Aug.)