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Home / US / "We will all carry a scarlet letter": Tim Alberta on the rise of Trump and the fall of the GOP

"We will all carry a scarlet letter": Tim Alberta on the rise of Trump and the fall of the GOP

In February 2018, Donald Trump's former political guru Steve Bannon told Bloomberg News, "The real opposition is the media, and the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit." ] Bannon was right in his strategy of how Trump's racist, authoritarian, pseudo-populist movement in the United States (and in other places around the world) could gain power. Nearly three years after his tenure, the American news media is still struggling to cover a president and a government that has no use for democratic norms, the constitution, the rule of law and the truth or reality itself.

Trump has many advantages in his campaign against the Fourth Estate and other public voices that dare He is a reality TV show character who has become the president and the most powerful person in the world. He has paired the instinctual abilities of a media personality with cruelty, an insatiable lust for power, a lack of morality and empathy, and a vicious, narcissistic god complex in which Trump literally believes he is the "chosen one."

The media report on President Trump because he has to ̵

1; and because he is very entertaining and good for ratings. Together, these two factors mean that the president and TV character Trump is very profitable for the corporate media. He is in two roles in the center of attention of the country and the world. He is both the mad king and the king of the American cacistocracy.

Donald Trump is very accessible to the news media. But he and his regime also lack transparency because they fundamentally reject the truth and have armed lies. Trump himself is constantly lying, as well as Fox News's right-wing media. Speakers and Republicans of the White House lie professionally and spread known untruths on behalf of the Trump regime.

Lying is a fundamental tool for authoritarian and fascist regimes, as they reject any obligation of public accountability.

Tim Alberta is Politico magazine's political chief correspondent. In his new bestseller, "American Carnage: On the Fronts of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump," Alberta takes on the monumental task of separating truth from rumors, fictions, and outright lies about the inner workings of Trump White House.

In our conversation, Alberta talks about the interview with Donald Trump and reveals that Vice President Pence has become one of Trump's few true friends and confidants – and how her relationship is underpinned by Pence's brand of right-wing Protestant Christianity. Alberta also provides insight into Trump's racist and nativist views and the role of White House Advisor Stephen Miller in the president's obsessive campaign against non-white immigrants. And Alberta also explains how Trump managed to seduce and conquer the Republican Party and its senior leadership, which initially opposed it.

This conversation has been overworked for clarity and length. You can also hear my entire conversation with Tim Alberta through the embedded embedded player below.

How do you reconcile the fact that Trump's presidency will write an ongoing story with something to bear?

It was a big fight. It was something I struggled a lot with writing the book. At some point, I came to a place where I realized that wherever I finished the book, the story would go on, of course. And the period I record would still be on its own and people could read the book and have a sense of what was happening at that time. I also have children. One of the main reasons I wrote "American Carnage" is that in 20, 25 or 30 years you should be able to read my book about the rise of Trump and how this came about and how they have gained some perspective on the events.

Books about Donald Trump and this moment are a huge industry. There were so many books of different quality. Most are not good. They are rushed. Some are excellent. How did you balance the pressure between speed and timing and quality?

There was certainly a great interest in writing this book much earlier. I kept pushing and saying, "Look, if I write a book about his takeover of the Republican Party and Trump just won that crazy election" – and at the time there were a lot of Republicans who still were not behind Trump – "Then I'm not ready to write the book, let's see if Trump actually does the party." About a year after Trump took office, it was clear that his takeover was complete and fairly clear.

But what gave me some peace was the fact that I really wrote this book to my children. I have three little boys, all of whom are less than five years old. Like many American children their age, they will inherit this dizzying national heritage. At present, we can not gauge how much has changed in the United States in such a short time. I hope that my book will provide an insight into how this happened in the years to come.

This moment in America requires 20 or 30 years of distance to fully understand and contextualize what has happened. A few decades in the future, when my kids are in college and in the "real world" trying to understand things, I hope they can say, "My dad tried to explain that to me, he did He did not necessarily try to point fingers or make heroes and villains, just to tell this story in its full context, so we understand what happened and hopefully how we can avoid it on the Internet future. "

In my view Donald Trump is no surprise. This is a disappointment. Trump is a kind of inevitability when you think of the Republican Party after civil rights. Why is there this dominant narrative that Trump's rise is somehow "shocking" or "unimaginable"?

I agree that someone like Donald Trump was inevitable in America. Maybe not in 2016, but certainly in the early 21st century. I chose "American Carnage" in 2008, but you could certainly have started with the Republican Party before the Gold Water era or the [John Birch Society] or George Wallace. One could also begin this story with the modern conservative movement of the Reagan era. And one could certainly begin this story with Pat Buchanan George H.W. Bush or even Newt Gingrich. The reason I started in 2008 was the meeting of Sarah Palin and the bailouts of the banks, the first black president Barack Obama, and how all these events set the scene for the following decade and Trump's rise.

If we start with the Tea Party In 2010, and with massive unemployment, which lost millions of jobs in the manufacturing sector in Central America, and then in the campaign of Mitt Romney, which is not concerned with economic insecurity, cultural harassment or racist resentment, apparently something happened to a dissatisfied white American public ripe for Trump. I certainly felt there was this wave building in America and that it was around 2016. We just did not know who would drive it. It just did not seem like Trump. Looking back, we should have known better.

There are so many people in the news media and elsewhere whose existence depends on the spectacle of Trumpism. He is also very entertaining in a perverted and twisted way. These are facts that so many people do not want to admit.

It was not until I wrote "American Carnage" that I realized that the rise of social media was converging with the deinstitutionalization of the media. Cable news media has been seen by many Americans at the same time with growing distrust and suspicion. There is also a period between 2007 and 2011, when a disproportionate number of white Americans aged 45+ retrieve their information from Fox News. All of this becomes a kind of huge Molotov cocktail. It was a social and political powder keg.

And you are so right about Donald Trump. He is so entertaining. I remember being in Cleveland for the first time in August 2015, and he made that comment to Rosie O & Donnell, and I remember laughing aloud – and almost all in the archive. Here are hundreds of specialist journalists, and we consider ourselves to be these very sincere, objective referees of the truth.

Even as specialist journalists and reporters, we are used to the stuffy conventions of politics. And here comes this guy in the form of Donald Trump, who's about to play a show, and our first reaction was, "Well, that's weird." The American news media could not help but report it. Trump knew that. Trump was the only person on the stage who realized that this was all a reality TV show and nothing else.

There are these duel stories about Donald Trump. Some people say he is stupid and ignorant. Others believe that he plays a kind of 3D chess. They sat opposite Donald Trump. How would you rate him?

There are two extreme cartoons by Donald Trump. None of them is accurate. One is that Donald Trump is a scholar and that everything is three-dimensional chess. Trump is supposed to be five moves ahead of everyone else. The other cartoon is that Donald Trump is an idiot, and the experts and other professional political observers are all a bunch of rubles to assign this genius to Trump. Both cartoons are highly inaccurate.

I do not think there is any doubt that the dog caught the car a little in 2016 with Donald Trump's win. In fact, Reince Priebus, Trump's former chief of staff, told me about Donald Trump and the victorious demographic coalition he had put together. Reince explained to me in a purely political way, "Hey, I'm the guy who wrote the autopsy and said we could not win an election by just shooting whites out of the working class to address minorities, and that guy did that to me Proved opposite. "

Priebus said the dog got the car because no one believed he could win the White House with a show by Alex Jones and a Breitbart.com campaign. No one did these things because no one thought they would work. So it's a bit stupid that Trump won in 2016, but I also think that Donald Trump is very smart.

Trump is reading the room really well. He has never been led by political advisers and has had polls designed to shape his messages, but Trump is devastatingly accurate in analyzing why the Republican Party has lost presidential competitions in recent years. His analysis of the party's deficiencies in the fight against the American left, both politically and culturally, was correct.

Trump has an in-depth understanding of how voters think about the issues. Regardless of whether it is immigration or trade, Trump pursues a Soundbite-driven approach with the lowest common denominator in politics. Most voters edit the policy in terms of the lowest common denominator. Trump understands this fact and has been able to package and communicate problems in a way that most voters could understand. The other Republicans he opposed were largely unable to do so.

One of the prevailing traditions is that Trump has no basic political beliefs. Is that true?

I think the most accurate description would be that Donald Trump is an opportunist. He has changed his positions a lot over the years. If you try to understand Trump through a political lens, you will not understand him at all. Because while I think that Trump has some basic beliefs and a certain world view, that does not mean that Trump has an ideology.

Donald Trump considers it a mistake for Americans to consider themselves global citizens. I think Trump thinks America should look inside. And now, obviously, Trump's own actions do not have to be reconciled with those beliefs. Nobody has said that Donald Trump has or has a principle. For example, Donald Trump has made his connections to China because he cares about profit in the first place. At the same time, Trump also believes American companies should produce their products here.

But in the end, it's almost all cultural that drives Donald Trump's understanding of politics and American voters. Trump has addressed emotions more effectively than any other politician in recent American history, if not ever. Donald Trump knows which keys to press and how to trigger emotional appeals voters wanted to agree to – even if they did not fully share those views. For these voters it was important that they believed Donald Trump would fight for people like her.

Who are Trump's voters and what do they want? Why he? These answers explain why he was able to take over the Republican Party.

Donald Trump can not win without the overwhelming support of white evangelical Christians. I think they responded to the fact that Trump was not Hillary Clinton and that he promised them things they had never been promised before, like the Supreme Court and what they had been doing for a long time on the issue of Wanted abortion rights. 19659002] Pence also played here. Mike Pence is well known among evangelical Christians and certainly the conservative movement. Unlike Trump, Mike Pence is one of their own. Trump has delivered for white Christian evangelicals, probably more than any other part of his constituency. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said to me, "For the first four months, I've been more in the White House than in every eight years in the White House of George W. Bush."

Suburban republicans are the other main body of the coalition. I believe that they are even more important to Trump's coalition than the workers in Central America. Obviously, if white Vorstädter do not vote in favor of Trump in 2016, he obviously will not win. And if they do not turn away from the Republicans in 2018, the Democrats will not take back the house. The studied, affluent Suburbanite is the new prototype of the swing voter in 2020.

These are the people who – even if they find Trump's rhetoric and repulsive behavior repugnant – receive a large tax cut. He has presided over an economy in which its 401 (k) is booming and its stock portfolios are certainly in a better place than four years ago. Many of these white suburban voters will find it hard to vote against Trump simply because of the fundamental question, "Is my paperback in better shape now? Is my checking account in better shape than four years ago?"

Now for the third part of Trump's coalition, the workers who were so mythologized by the news media. Trump has really brought almost nothing but cultural ills for her. And what's interesting is that cultural complaints are likely to outweigh tax cuts or Supreme Court judges. Trump is probably more at risk of losing voters from one of these two other groups than he is in danger of losing from these workers, even though he has not delivered much for them.

Did Trump just "traditionally" give Republican permission to be what they always wanted to be, is this really a takeover?

I do not necessarily see them as mutually exclusive There may be a not insignificant part of the republican base and the republican political class that was willing to embark on this trip, you had no problem with it, I believe it's another significant part of the republican party Trump is reluctant to drop Trump's ticket because they feel they have no other choice, and now they're just sick of all that.

It There are a number of American civil, cultural, social and political institutions that have collapsed among themselves in weight the last 10 to 50 years in America. Many Americans do not tend to regard political parties as institutions, but in fact they are. Political parties are in many ways essential to American life. And frankly, the stability of a political system in America is tied to the strength of a political party. For most observers, it was not much appreciated how systematically the Republican Party had weakened before Trump drove down that escalator.

Donald Trump abducted the Republican Party, but he could not have abducted a party that abducted this party was unwilling to be kidnapped. In other words, Donald Trump would have been able to take over the Republican Party only if it had been prone to takeover from the ground up.

Trump gives the Republicans and conservative movement what they dreamed of for years. Why the excitement among the party elites and other influences?

If you wanted to put everything on paper, what the President has achieved to this point, and then scrap President Donald Trump and "President Jeb Bush" or "President Marco Rubio" or "President Rick" wrote Perry, then most Republicans would scream and roar and dance in the streets, and they would love it. They would celebrate this person reborn as Reagan. And yes, some Republicans will celebrate Donald Trump when Reagan is reborn. But I believe there is some degree of recognition for at least some of these people – probably for many of them, even those who will never admit it – that there is something wrong with Donald Trump's rise to power here in America.

Some Republicans know there's something below the surface that they'll sooner or later face, and maybe it will not be today, maybe it will not be in 50 years. Perhaps there will be deathbed confessors among high-ranking Republicans and other conservatives who see their role in all of these things. I think many Republicans have to suppress this feeling to get up and come to work in the morning on Capitol Hill.

Could many republican leaders know that they understood something unpleasant and inappropriate and wrong? with Trump, but you enjoy it? And now they are all afraid to get caught?

Maybe they will not get caught? Maybe they'll never have to deal with the consequences, whether it's a choice or their grandchildren sitting on their laps saying, "Hey, when the president said those racist things, why did not you do that "speak against it?" It manifests in a different way to different Republicans. What many Republicans will confess to you privately, especially if you have a few drinks in them, is, "Look, we all have a scarlet letter about it." With a few exceptions – and I speak explicitly in the political class – everyone will for some time wear this scarlet letter of the Trump era.

The so-called "principled" Republicans and Conservatives love to distance themselves from Trumpism. But I always ask her how her so-called principles set the stage for Donald Trump and this right-wing extremism. You spoke to these Republicans of the old guard. How are they different from Trump in terms of principles?

I think they are two things. I think you're going for style and substance, right? I think about the style, many of them would say, "Look, go back to Jeb Bush's campaign." Jeb has people who work for him who are Hispanic. Many of them. Jeb has people who work for him who are gay. Jeb has people working for him who are far more open-minded on general social issues than your current West Wing workers.

Democrats, liberals, and progressives may find these distinctions rather meaningless. You could say, "Well, some of these people are ready to call the bigots in their own party, but they still bring these bigots down with some of their own viewpoints." But I think the differences are actually quite significant. What happened after George W. Bush was a real break not only along ideological boundaries within the GOP, but along some of those cultural boundaries. This affected the general attitude of the Republican Party towards the government and its role in American life.

There are a good number of Republicans who want a large tent party that covers a range of issues, from immigration to refugee, to more comprehensive resettlement of gays and transgender people in the military and other matters. These Republicans did not want their party branded as bigoted, exclusive, and narrow-minded. These Republicans basically wanted a modern version of conservatism, but still with a foundation of free markets, free trade, harsh individualism and strong national defense, in America not only military strength abroad, but also our values ​​and our influence radiates. For them, these values ​​are the linchpin of a strong republic.

These more traditional Republicans see Trump as someone who is fundamentally averse to these principles. They see him as someone who does not believe that these things are the linchpin of a strong republic. In fact, he is someone who thinks these things harm a strong republic. So there is a real fundamental difference of opinion. This also applies to immigration.

Trump's racism, nativism and downright cruelty towards non-Whites, especially migrants and refugees from Latin and South America – is that Donald Trump or Stephen Miller? What is your relationship?

I do not know that anyone in Washington, and I mean that, really has the goods on the Trump-Stephen Miller relationship. I tried to interfere but was not successful. I think a lot of it is Donald Trump. I do not think Stephen Miller has this influence in a non-Trump world. Stephen Miller would not have the influence he exerts on some of these strategies if he did not have a willing and willing partner in the form of Donald Trump.

In terms of immigration, it is such a central part of Trump's political identity that I find him for his fingerprints everywhere in these guidelines. Stephen Miller would not do and say the things he is, unless he has the approval, approval and support of Donald Trump.

What is the relationship between Vice President Pence and Donald Trump, considering that Trump is a reputed sinner and Pence tries to present himself as a righteous Christian?

Transactional. To be fair, I also think it's less transactional than Trump's relationship with many other Republicans. I actually believe that there is a real affection between Trump and Pence, feelings that Trump has with very few other Republicans in Washington, including some whom Trump believes are actually his friends and who then go behind his back and ruin him. I have spoken to all who know Pence. No one has ever heard Pence say a negative word about Trump since he joined the ticket. Now Pence had some very critical views of Trump before he joined the ticket – and here I come to the transaction area – because Pence was in great trouble in Indiana and at risk of losing his re-election as governor. Trump threw him a lifeline.

Trump and his inner circle see in pence someone who is the ideal counterweight who is able to bring along a lot of these reluctant Republicans, people who see in Trump no person morally capable of leading the country. And Pence sees in Trump a president who can make many of his dreams come true. Trump gave him a heartbeat from the presidency, an office that Pence had wanted to hold for 30 years.

Again, Pences Religion plays a role. Maybe counterintuitive. Pence looks at Trump and, yes, he sees a sinner, but he also sees someone who needs mercy and someone who needs understanding and love. People can obviously roll their eyes. But I think Pence has closed this most unlikely brotherhood with Trump.

I believe that Mike Pence will be a permanent loyal ally of Trump. Pence believes that Trump was portrayed as a cartoon, that we all see a very different person than the Donald Trump he sees. I believe that Pence believes that Trump is a thoroughly good and decent family man who has a bad reputation and occasionally makes mistakes – but that Trump makes mistakes because he is blamed by the "liberal media" and the "forces of "brutally attacked is secularism" and everything else, I think Pence felt very well with this idea that he understood correctly Trump and all the other Trump have misunderstood.

Trump has also shown that he his attacks on Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were the most recent examples Is Trump a committed racist or is his racism just a means to an end? Is he just using available tactics like a mafia boss?

I would like to anticipate this by saying that I never want to get fully into the head of a human being, and especially not the President of the United States, because he is so v All things have been managed. I do not want to assign any subjects. That being said, there are two competing imperatives here. One is that Trump has this long history of "racist sensitivity." I am very generous with this language. We all know the story of Trump and the discrimination based on housing, Central Park Five, birthright and everything else.

Combining these points makes it pretty easy to conclude that Donald Trump is a person who loves to play with matches, the kerosene that is race relations in America. On the other hand, he is someone who is quite cosmopolitan and spent his career in New York with minorities.

Obviously, it's the oldest cop-out in the book that says, "Oh, I have black friends." But Trump has black friends, he has black and brown people who vouch for him and say things like, "No. He does not say what he feels, he's just insensitive, or he's just kind of numb, but that's not really who the type is. "

In your view, Trump is a mafia boss, so I absolutely see the political opportunity here and he's ruthless in taking advantage of it. Trump does not think twice about it. I think the conclusion about Trump's true feelings about the race is probably much more unclear than we might initially believe.

Does Trump care to be president?

When you talk to people around him, he does. I think he enjoys the insignia. Trump is the star of the biggest reality show in the world and everyone responds to every one of his moves. Er genießt es definitiv, der Star der Show zu sein. Ich glaube nicht, dass Trump die ständige Kritik genießt. Es provoziert und bringt einige der schlimmsten Dinge in ihm zum Vorschein.

Donald Trump hat offensichtlich einige echte Unsicherheiten und Empfindlichkeiten, die sehr schnell überkochen, wenn er angestoßen und angestoßen wird. Wir kennen die Box-Metapher: Wenn er geschlagen wird, wird er doppelt so hart kontern. Aber es liegt daran, dass Trump einen Glaskiefer hat. Dies ist jemand, der Kritik einfach nicht gut aufnimmt, selbst konstruktive Kritik im privaten Bereich.

Wenn es ein Epitaph für diese Version der Republikanischen Partei gibt, was glaubst du, wird es sagen?

Wir haben versucht, Amerika wieder großartig zu machen. Beschuldige uns nicht.

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