Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump—and Democrats from Themselves

Rick Wilson. Crown Forum, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-13758-1
Republican strategist Wilson (Everything Trump Touches Dies) delivers a histrionic yet trenchant guide to presidential politics with the ostensible purpose of helping Democrats win the White House in 2020. Declaring the Democratic Party to be “terrible at the work of electoral politics,” Wilson first presents the liberal nightmare of a Trump reelection (“your pride in being the most progressive candidate and campaign since FDR turns to ashes in your mouth”) before sketching the prospective lasting impacts of Trump’s second term, including the erosion of social norms (“a generation will learn its behavior from the worst role model since Saddam Hussein”) and the rise of a political dynasty (“the Imperial Trumps”). To prevent such a scenario, he suggests that Democrats make the 2020 election a referendum on Trump rather than a debate over policy issues such as health care, gun control, or the environment. Wilson intersperses his strategic advice with satirical asides (potential tweets from Trump’s second term, fact-checks from future debates) that produce more eye rolls than genuine guffaws, and while his keen political insights can be difficult to glean through his disdain for his imagined liberal reader, they’re often on-target. Democrats with a high tolerance for invective would do well to consider the book’s fundamental warning that winning in 2020 will require “put[ting] electoral realities ahead of progressive fantasies.” (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/06/2019
Release date: 01/14/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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