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Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism. In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absur #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism. In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absurdity of American politics in the age of Trump. Wilson mercilessly exposes the damage Trump has done to the country, to the Republican Party he served for decades, and to the conservative movement that has abandoned its principles for the worst President in American history. No left-winger, Wilson is a lifelong conservative who delivers his withering critique of Trump from the right. A leader of the Never Trump movement, he warns his own party of the political catastrophe that leaves everyone involved with Trump with reputations destroyed and lives in tatters. Wilson unblinkingly dismantles Trump’s deceptions and the illusions to which his supporters cling, shedding light on the guilty parties who empower and enable Trump in Washington and the news media. He calls out the race-war dead-enders who hitched a ride with Trump, the alt-right basement dwellers who worship him, and the social conservatives who looked the other way. Everything Trump Touches Dies deftly chronicles the tragicomic Trump story from the early campaign days through the shock of election night, to the inconceivable trainwreck of Trump's first year. Rick Wilson provides not only an insightful analysis of the Trump administration, but also an optimistic path forward for the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country. Combining insider political analysis, blunt truths, and black humor, Everything Trump Touches Dies is perfect for those on either side of the aisle who need a dose of unvarnished reality, a good laugh, a strong cocktail, and a return to sanity in American politics.


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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism. In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absur #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism. In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absurdity of American politics in the age of Trump. Wilson mercilessly exposes the damage Trump has done to the country, to the Republican Party he served for decades, and to the conservative movement that has abandoned its principles for the worst President in American history. No left-winger, Wilson is a lifelong conservative who delivers his withering critique of Trump from the right. A leader of the Never Trump movement, he warns his own party of the political catastrophe that leaves everyone involved with Trump with reputations destroyed and lives in tatters. Wilson unblinkingly dismantles Trump’s deceptions and the illusions to which his supporters cling, shedding light on the guilty parties who empower and enable Trump in Washington and the news media. He calls out the race-war dead-enders who hitched a ride with Trump, the alt-right basement dwellers who worship him, and the social conservatives who looked the other way. Everything Trump Touches Dies deftly chronicles the tragicomic Trump story from the early campaign days through the shock of election night, to the inconceivable trainwreck of Trump's first year. Rick Wilson provides not only an insightful analysis of the Trump administration, but also an optimistic path forward for the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country. Combining insider political analysis, blunt truths, and black humor, Everything Trump Touches Dies is perfect for those on either side of the aisle who need a dose of unvarnished reality, a good laugh, a strong cocktail, and a return to sanity in American politics.

30 review for Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    Rick Wilson—the most viciously funny of the Never Trumpers—has no illusions about who he is or what he does. He is a libertarian/conservative making a living as a political consultant, but not the high-minded, high-profile, Steve Schmidt kind of consultant, but rather—in Wilson’s words—a “gleeful hatchet man for the GOP”: I am the guy you call when it’s time to run the ads that end the campaign, in part because my skin is thick enough to endure the inevitable screeching and rending of garments Rick Wilson—the most viciously funny of the Never Trumpers—has no illusions about who he is or what he does. He is a libertarian/conservative making a living as a political consultant, but not the high-minded, high-profile, Steve Schmidt kind of consultant, but rather—in Wilson’s words—a “gleeful hatchet man for the GOP”: I am the guy you call when it’s time to run the ads that end the campaign, in part because my skin is thick enough to endure the inevitable screeching and rending of garments that come when it’s time to wade into the fight. You call me when you’re in back of the police car outside the shady massage parlor and you have to be on the floor of Congress to vote in 24 hours. . But even though he’s a street fighter by nature, Wilson has his limits: When Trump slithered down the golden escalator in his eponymous tower in 2015, I felt bile rising in my throat. This guy? This jackass? I was quite sure nothing had changed about his blustering ego, fever-swamp birtherism, and con-artist modus operandi. Given the ideological underpinnings of Trumpism—slurry of barely coherent nationalism, third-world generalissimo swagger, and the worst economic ideas of the 19th century—I recognized he was an existential risk to the country, win or lose. In 2016 Rick Wilson helped Evan McMullin with his independent presidential campaign; in 2017 he crafted the ads for Doug Jone's senate campaign that contributed to Judge Roy Moore’s defeat. These days, you can catch him as a talking head on MSNBC and elsewhere, plugging this book and eviscerating all things Trump. It will come as no surprise that Wilson, given his background, excels at the art of personal attack. He is good at crafting a cutting witticism, even better at a no-holds-barred comic takedown. But he is worth listening to on many other matters as well: the hypocrisy of the religious right, the wrong-headedness of tariffs, and the myth of voter fraud are a few topics that come immediately to mind. Still, it is Wilson’s vituperative portraits of the Trump’s enablers and Trumpistas that give Everything Trump Touches Dies its unique charm. There are a lot of these caricatures, and althought they occasionally miss the mark, the best of them linger in the memory. Here are a few of my favorites: TED CRUZ The Faustian bargain Cruz made in his efforts to win over Trump voters has reduced him from Republican Party rock star to something akin to a Trump World house pet: tolerated, occasionally praised, but mostly kept out of sight lest he soil the carpets. NEWT GINGRICH As far as ideologies go, the men had nothing in common. Gingrich had one; Trump didn’t. The only similarity in the two men was a chain of broken wedding vows and bitter ex-wives. MIKE PENCE Because of Trump’s enormous, delicate ego, Pence has been forced to recalibrate the role of vice president. I missed the part in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution about kissing the presiden’ts ass 24/7, but apparently Pence found it. SEAN HANNITY He even spends his evenings on the phone with the president. I can’t help imagining them like a pair of teenage girls on their Princess phones. “You hang up first.” “No, you hang up first.” “Love you.” “Love you more.” ANN COULTER Her arc, like that of the so many Trump backers in conservative media, could only ever end in one way: hot, angry tears and a morning-after binge of chain-smoking Marlboro Reds, hammering back indifferent box-wine Chardonnay, and devouring the souls of orphans. CARTER PAGE Profoundly disconnected, socially awkward, and reeking of late-stage virginity, he gives off the creepy Uncanny Valley vibe of a rogue, possibly murderous android or of a man with a too-extensive knowledge of human taxidermy and a soundproofed van. STEPHEN MILLER As the classic ideological scavenger inside the walls of government, Miller looks the part: the archetypal sneaking little crapweasel who plays the DC game to the hilt, pursuing his agends instead of those that would be good for either his principal or the country. Watching Miller, I am haunted by how little humanity is behind those 32-year-old eyes. MELANIA She is equipped with a magnificent resting bitch face in good times and bad, and her smile collapsing into a poker face whenever he turns away from her at White House events is the political equivalent of a fake orgasm, a performance for an audience of one, hoping to rush things along so she can get back to her Peloton.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mikhail

    So, this is the first contemporary political book I have ever read (as opposed to historical books on politics, which I have looooong lost count of). It's... fun. It's basically a 300-page rant by Rick Wilson about Trump, which is leavened by the fact that Wilson is actually a rather entertaining ranter -- he's witty, erudite, periodically profane, and really knows his stuff when it comes to politics. I respect the man considerably, even though I'm about ninety degrees to the left of him. Though So, this is the first contemporary political book I have ever read (as opposed to historical books on politics, which I have looooong lost count of). It's... fun. It's basically a 300-page rant by Rick Wilson about Trump, which is leavened by the fact that Wilson is actually a rather entertaining ranter -- he's witty, erudite, periodically profane, and really knows his stuff when it comes to politics. I respect the man considerably, even though I'm about ninety degrees to the left of him. Though perhaps if more Republicans were like Wilson, I wouldn't be. So it's fun. At the same time, there's very little 'new' here if you follow politics with a more-than-casual eye. It's basically the literary version of a jawboning session with your friends over a pint.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I think I need a new bookshelf: "Books that keep me sane in a crazy world." This one is the first on that shelf. Make no mistake, Rick Wilson is a conservative Republican strategist. He and I would nod coldly at a party and go talk to others, but man, this guy is someone you don't want on your enemy's list. He describes himself at the beginning as the guy you call in when you need a nasty hit ad on your opponent...he goes for the throat, and he does so gleefully. From the first sentence to the las I think I need a new bookshelf: "Books that keep me sane in a crazy world." This one is the first on that shelf. Make no mistake, Rick Wilson is a conservative Republican strategist. He and I would nod coldly at a party and go talk to others, but man, this guy is someone you don't want on your enemy's list. He describes himself at the beginning as the guy you call in when you need a nasty hit ad on your opponent...he goes for the throat, and he does so gleefully. From the first sentence to the last, I felt an affinity for his frustration and anger..."If you're like me, the Trump presidency has turned you into a light sleeper." Wilson sets out the conservative position on "Never Trump," and he makes a convincing argument that #ETTD...He calls the current Republicans who manage to tie themselves in knots to excuse Trump's behavior, "Vichy Republicans." His scorn is clear. He talks about the candidates Trump demeaned, insulted, on his way to the GOP nomination...he talks about the career politicians who fit one of five descriptions: True Believers, Opportunists, Cowards (FOMT -- fear of a mean tweet, FOTB -- fear of Trump's base, BTP -- But the primaries!) Rationalizers, and Retirees...and the only one to stand up to him is the Senator who's home, dying. What has the GOP lost, in Wilson's eyes? Only leadership, dignity, truth, facts, vision, optimism, focus, unity...that's all. Don't think he goes light on Dems: 'Holisitically bad at politics, both on election day, and in the cut-and-thrust of DC. He reminds us we lost 1100 seats in state legislatures. And in OK, that hurts every day. He calls FOX News the fourth branch of government...and shows how some of them are going down...dying by Trump's touch: Milo, "TrumpBart", Alex Jones, Ann Coulter. He attacks Trump's Misfit Toys: Bannon, Manafort, Stone, Page, Cohen, Conway, Miller, Sanders, Gorka...think about how many are gone. He explains the "electoral poison" Trump is turning out to be...yes, the 'base' loves him. But "He does not translate outside the base..." He is proud of his anti-Roy Moore and explains how very carefully they targeted that ad...and it was targeted to educated women who were repelled by Moore's vileness. So, he'll work against GOP candidates, as well as for. He holds two visions of the GOP -- one a Mad Max world, and one a party that exiles the Nazis, the Alt-Reich, who who's ready to govern like adults. Wilson is wicked smart...you can see him gleefully creating an attack ad. He uses words as weapons, and he knows all the words. And if there's not a word to express exactly what he wants, he'll make one up. Wilson and his friends are probably our only hope...maybe they can bring the GOP back to the party my father would recognize.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Terence M

    August 22, 2018 – 5.0% "Did Not Read - scanned through audiobook only" I bought this yesterday, 22/08/18, thinking it might add something interesting to my limited non-media knowledge of Donald Trump. I was not impressed with the scan, and this, plus reading the highest rated review on Goodreads, makes this a DNF without even trying. As an Aussie, I do not think I should be making comments about the President of the USA, adverse or otherwise, in this public forum.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Delia Turner

    A hilarious extended exercise in invective by a conservative operative who drew the line at supporting Trump. He takes on anyone and everyone—though the one target he doesn’t aim at much is Russia. This liberal enjoyed reading it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leona

    This was well worth the investment of my time. I'll capture the essence of the book in the following quotes: "It's an administration that combines astounding incompetence and consistent failure with a pungent combination of arrogance, bullish stupidity, and a relentless, juvenile desire to run a government dedicated not to service, but to offense. The collection of miscreants, nutcases, extremists, and dead-enders around Trump is an extended middle finger to American values, institutions, and a This was well worth the investment of my time. I'll capture the essence of the book in the following quotes: "It's an administration that combines astounding incompetence and consistent failure with a pungent combination of arrogance, bullish stupidity, and a relentless, juvenile desire to run a government dedicated not to service, but to offense. The collection of miscreants, nutcases, extremists, and dead-enders around Trump is an extended middle finger to American values, institutions, and anyone, anywhere not sufficiently awed by and obeisant to this president. "Everything about Donald Trump's presidency and character is a disaster for America. The victories Republicans think they have achieved are transitory and ephemeral and come at the cost of their principles and, probably, their immortal souls. He is a stain on the party, on conservatism, and on this country that won't easily wash out." I highly recommend this to all Americans. Especially given it's written by a longstanding, faithful, conservative Republican whose only agenda is to protect his party (the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Reagan) and his country. How far we have come in our disgrace both nationally and internationally. It saddens me, especially this week, when we buried a real American hero, Senator John McCain. A man who did not compromise his values and who fought the "good fight" every day of his life with courage and grace.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    “The monster is out of its cage, and its new trainers (both here and in Russia) encourage only its dumbest, darkest, most capricious, cruel and violent behaviors. This book is, I hope, one of a number of poison darts in the neck of the monster.” I’ve been enjoying Rick Wilson on Twitter and was looking forward to his first book. He doesn’t disappoint (or pull punches)! As he’s known to say, he guts Trump (“Grandpa Ranty” “President Shithole”) like a fish. So reassuring to have a reasonable, intel “The monster is out of its cage, and its new trainers (both here and in Russia) encourage only its dumbest, darkest, most capricious, cruel and violent behaviors. This book is, I hope, one of a number of poison darts in the neck of the monster.” I’ve been enjoying Rick Wilson on Twitter and was looking forward to his first book. He doesn’t disappoint (or pull punches)! As he’s known to say, he guts Trump (“Grandpa Ranty” “President Shithole”) like a fish. So reassuring to have a reasonable, intelligent, mature, experienced, funny guy dissect MAGA (“the sewage tank of nationalist populism”) and Dear Leader. Rick needs to speak out ever more. He should have his own TV show. He’s great with Bill Maher and Don Lemon. Looking forward to his next book, too. I have read up on Trump. Rick really gets him and DC. This is the best account of what the hell happened to us. “Every oath Trump has ever sworn, every promise he’s made in business, or in his personal life is contingent on his moods, personal beefs, incoherent rages, bizarre conspiracy theories, poor impulse control, horndog nature, and raging venality.” “The mythology of Donald Trump’s rise to the Oval Office is rich in Trump-aggrandizing explanations that ignore the enablers, normalizers, media fellators, ideological arsonists, and moral ciphers who make up Washington’s and New York’s political and media culture. They’re the proximate reasons Trump was able to overcome the field of almost a dozen serious Republicans, and Ben Carson.” Rick delightfully singles out and sends up: Priebus, Ryan, Cruz, Christie, Gingrich, Ailes and Murdoch, Pence, CPAC, Lobbyists (“topping from the bottom with Trump”), Major Donors and The Republican Consulting Class. “Trump has broken some essential political survival mechanism in Republican elected officials, and it’s hard to see how many of them will recover; over and over Republicans have failed a basic political common sense test on Trump. The excuses they make for him are so out of proportion to the reaction he deserves. In the face of incompetence, they display indifference. In the face of corruption, they engage in epic whataboutism. In the face of instability, they blame inexperience.” Attributed to Andrew Marantz in response to Trump’s claim that he doesn’t have time for TV cuz he “reads documents a lot”: “Reading documents a lot is high on the list of activities it’s nearly impossible to imagine Trump doing, along with foraging, Pilates and introspection.” Trump on stage performs a: “Borscht Belt Mussolini schtick, bellowing, strutting, and doing everything but grabbing his sack” Trump’s base (“residents of our national shame closet”)“didn’t really care about fiscal conservatism. These were ‘conservatives’ unmoved by arguments about the debt, the deficit, or the constitution. They didn’t really care about reducing the size of government. In the end, they ere just angry at a changing America, a changing economy, and at people who didn’t look or sound like them. Fed by Fox news, talk radio, and a weaponized Facebook feeds custom-designed to engorge their feelings of fury, resentment, and impotence, they were looking a t a world that was evolving socially, technologically, and politically at a Kurzweilian rate.” “the message was ‘I’m going to expand government to fuck over the people you hate.’” Rick prophesies a rosy future after we’re done with Cadet Bone Spurs and we’ve learned from our mistakes. I’m more cynical about our politics. I think Trump (“the avatar of our worst instincts and darkest desires as a nation”) has changed things for the worse into the future. We are ever more self-absorbed while less well-informed and educated. We want to be entertained above all else and we vote with our emotions. We don’t value expertise. We may have entered post ideological politics for good. Trump is not a conservative. He’s a bomb throwing agent of chaos. An “authoritarian statist” wannabe. He’s a malignant narcissist who cares only about ego-fluffing and enemy-making. He wants to run the country on his own, a co-equal to none. As his crimes and misdemeanors become exposed, he will rage on as his core bleats along. He touched the Republican Party and I believe it died. The Dems will keep on with Nancy, Bernie and Ocasio-Cortez. Bernie or Elizabeth Warren for president? Four more years for Trump. Can he campaign from prison? We’re f***ed.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    My excuse? This was sitting face up on a library table of "new arrivals" right beside Ann Coulter's new book. Assuming I was at the "new in humor for Halloween" table, I picked up this book right beside it after turning Coulter's book face down because I felt lunch coming back up. Anyway, Wilson IS hilarious and you know it when he titles the first section, "The Road to the Shitshow." (Just quoting the book, I don't mean to offend anyone.) Then he goes on about other things/people: About Trump's My excuse? This was sitting face up on a library table of "new arrivals" right beside Ann Coulter's new book. Assuming I was at the "new in humor for Halloween" table, I picked up this book right beside it after turning Coulter's book face down because I felt lunch coming back up. Anyway, Wilson IS hilarious and you know it when he titles the first section, "The Road to the Shitshow." (Just quoting the book, I don't mean to offend anyone.) Then he goes on about other things/people: About Trump's Base: "...I know I'm not supposed to make fun of Trump's base voters, but between their cultish worship of Trump, their abandonment of conservative principles, and their headlong embrace of batshit conspiracies, they make it all too easy." About Melania: "...you can see how dead her soul is with every appearance." (I'm starting to think this isn't much of a comedy book by now but really is a Halloween horror story.) About Trump's Staff: "The burn rate of the moral, intellectual, and political capitol of the people who joined Team Trump is spectacular by any standard." About Ann Coulter: "...tales of whom are whispered in dark rooms to frighten children." See, it's a good thing I turned the cover of her book down, I may have saved many people from nightmares and heart attacks! About Trump's Ratings: They "...are somewhere above genital warts and below every other president in modern history, so that's nice." See, there you go, Wilson compliments Trump. So, yes, it's a comedy book with kind things to say about Trump after all! And another nice note: "No, not every Trump supporter is a racist, xenophobic, alt-right man-child. However, every racist, xenophobic, alt-right man-child is a Trump supporter." How so very sweet. And the book ends on a nice thought: "Also, Trump has tiny, tiny hands." Just think how much we, as taxpayers, are saving on Trump's gloves! Anyway, Wilson delivers punch line after punch line in this howler. I'd have given it more stars but then I realized, finally, this isn't a comedy, Wilson means every word of it. And that's horrifying, perfect Halloween reading. Just think, today is exactly 17 years after 9/11. And look what's going on in the White House, according to Wilson, of course. Thankfully, truth isn't truth.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pam P

    Ive long despised Rick Wison... ...for his Jeremiah Wright ad against Obama in the 2008 election. I thought who is this craven low life who twists the words of a black preacher, speaking truth to power and makes the first black presidential candidate have to walk a delicate race driven line? Rick Wilson was that man. I am the political opposite of my beloved conservative Republican father and we have argued and agreed and vehemently disagreed my whole life and my dad loved me more than himself, s Ive long despised Rick Wison... ...for his Jeremiah Wright ad against Obama in the 2008 election. I thought who is this craven low life who twists the words of a black preacher, speaking truth to power and makes the first black presidential candidate have to walk a delicate race driven line? Rick Wilson was that man. I am the political opposite of my beloved conservative Republican father and we have argued and agreed and vehemently disagreed my whole life and my dad loved me more than himself, so I have been able to listen across the aisle for the majority of my life. Along comes Trump, an ignorant, reality show host, birther creator, and rascist and suddenly my dad and I are on the exactly same side. My father mourned the loss of what his grand ol party had become until the time of his death last year. He shared, unprompted, that he voted for his first Democratic candidate when he checked the box next to Hillary Clinton. He was an og Never Trump-er, so I helped him seek out other Never Trump Republicans he could read and he didn't feel so alone. I found Rick Wilson on our journey and became a fan and cheerleader. I may never forgive him for the Jeremiah Wright ad, but today is today and we got bigger fish to fry and we need all hands on deck. I'm reporting for duty, Mr. Wilson. We'll discuss marginal tax rates after the battle.

  10. 5 out of 5

    The Just-About-Cocky Ms M

    I loved this book. I adored Rick Wilson’s sharp, snarky, and often deadly accurate humor at himself, at his fellow Republicans, and even at the events that led to his spearheading the Never Trump movement. I enjoyed this book despite—or more honestly, because of—Wilson’s direct involvement with some of the most noxious, offensive, and bottom-dwelling campaign ads launched against President Obama and other Democratic candidates for whatever important office that needed his attention. “Win, baby, I loved this book. I adored Rick Wilson’s sharp, snarky, and often deadly accurate humor at himself, at his fellow Republicans, and even at the events that led to his spearheading the Never Trump movement. I enjoyed this book despite—or more honestly, because of—Wilson’s direct involvement with some of the most noxious, offensive, and bottom-dwelling campaign ads launched against President Obama and other Democratic candidates for whatever important office that needed his attention. “Win, baby, win!” was Wilson’s mantra. More realistic and truthful, I think, than the racist MAGA slogan. So I thought that a book by someone from the Other Side with plenty of street creds would be a worthwhile read, and it was. Indeed. On many levels. Wilson dishes it out by the fistful, targeting not only the Large Orange Menace in the White House surrounded by lesser oranges, mandarins, perhaps, but the parties, pols, and advisers who made this present mess possible. He even lets some of it drip down his own shirt front, when warranted. A rare trait among the political class. The fun begins when Trump rides down that iconic sleazy escalator on his way to an amazingly sleazy administration, stopping at the bottom to begin what will be an interminably long series of bigoted and divisive rants. Like Chicken Little on speed, Wilson warns his party what will happen if Trump succeeds, and doesn’t let up when the Establishment refused to entertain even the possibility of a Trump victory. He then turns his attention to those individuals he thinks contributed to the Win from Hell, and who continued to enable the president as he muddled through the first months of his term. I don’t like these people—Reince Priebus the Weakling, Paul Ryan, he of the furrowed brow and deep concern, Kellyanne Conway, arbiter of alternative facts, Mike Pence, as exciting as a basket of wet laundry, Ted Cruz, the failed Republican rock star, Newt Gingrich, who disdains everyone whose intellect is allegedly below his—but I don’t want to have my dislike validated by other liberals. Where is the fun—or verisimilitude—in that? Nope. I want to see a Republican operative say what I think, but better, more flamboyantly, and with an insider’s street creds. The Vichy Republicans, Wilson calls them, along with CPAC, the donor class, and the lobbyists and consultants who fell all over themselves to try to “normalize” this president. What a way of words that is! At times Wilson seems without much hope for the continuation of even a vestige of his GOP, one he and others like him supported, understood, and promoted—or engineered—into power through means both fair and foul. But there is Mueller, Wilson points out, and the possibility that party stalwarts, quite distinguishable from the Trumpsters, will get it together and succeed in removing the cancer from the GOP. I’m like Wilson: I have hope that the essential sanity of his party, and mine, plus all the other normal citizens now shaking their heads in private or publicly, will prevail. I really liked Bob Woodward’s book Fear because I trust his journalistic integrity, which has stood up to scrutiny for decades. And I really like Wilson’s book because it offers a sane—albeit truly funny—view of this administration from someone who knows it better than most.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I have very mixed feelings about this book. I enjoy Rick Wilson's appearances on news shows and his column for The Daily Beast. He has a way with words and is unstinting in his condemnation of the current "president." However, a little vitriol goes a long way. It's one thing to read an article containing it; it's quite another to read a whole book of it. It grew tiresome, especially his constant harping on the "president's" diehard supporters and how a bunch of them are virgins who "couldn't fin I have very mixed feelings about this book. I enjoy Rick Wilson's appearances on news shows and his column for The Daily Beast. He has a way with words and is unstinting in his condemnation of the current "president." However, a little vitriol goes a long way. It's one thing to read an article containing it; it's quite another to read a whole book of it. It grew tiresome, especially his constant harping on the "president's" diehard supporters and how a bunch of them are virgins who "couldn't find a woman's clitoris with a GPS and a magnifying glass." First of all, specifying that it would be a woman's clitoris is redundant. Second, it seems like a very puerile insult. Is it a guy thing? Heck if I know. I also took exception to his constant dismissal of Democrats and their "purity tests." No, we are not all in lockstep with extreme left positions. Some of us are quite pragmatic and understand very well that someone who can win in San Francisco probably can't win in my home state of Indiana. I found it extremely condescending. Perhaps he should talk to my Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, and find out what a pragmatic Democrat is all about and what they can accomplish. I had to laugh at his praise of presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, for their condemnation of racism...with not one mention of President Obama. Seriously? The first African-American President and you can't find it in your conservative soul to mention his thoughts on racism? Dude. Having said all that, he does share my contempt for this current administration and the direction it is taking our country. He is a Never Trumper and I appreciate his work on that. Perhaps he should stop with the endless insults. Perhaps he should understand that despite our political differences, plenty of us on the left love our country just as much as he does.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Rick Wilson, long-time Republican strategist and ad-maker (as well as the king of snark), issues an epic beat-down of The Donald and all of his enablers in this scalding, insightful, yet scary book. Wilson is an avowed conservative who is pissed and wants his country and party back. There are issues where I disagree with Wilson, but at least he is the kind of conservative I respect. He favors fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and greater accountability. He despises the Republican-driven Rick Wilson, long-time Republican strategist and ad-maker (as well as the king of snark), issues an epic beat-down of The Donald and all of his enablers in this scalding, insightful, yet scary book. Wilson is an avowed conservative who is pissed and wants his country and party back. There are issues where I disagree with Wilson, but at least he is the kind of conservative I respect. He favors fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and greater accountability. He despises the Republican-driven social-issue and culture wars. This book is primarily targeted at his party, but he has choice words for the left as well. Wilson zeroes in on many topics including the Republican power brokers, Trump family and cronies, right-wing media nuts, Trump's base, alt-right basket cases, and evangelicals. After he is done with them pretty much all that is left is smoking wreckage. But Wilson makes what I believe are solid and reasoned cases for his opinions. In addition to describing how we got here, he also offers an assessment of how we (particularly his Republican party) can move forward and reclaim our country and our soul. Excellent political commentary and observation for our current times. Can't wait for the sequel!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian Wilde

    I don’t usually write negative reviews. Usually when I invested the time and money, that creates a desire to be optimistic. However, I ended up really disliking this writer. There’s an arrogance in the writer’s personality that is extremely off putting. There’s a fine line between authority and jerk. The writer crosses it. By page 100, all I kept thinking was STFU. And I hate Trump so this difficulty isn’t because of the subject matter. If you’re interested in Trump, you can do far better than t I don’t usually write negative reviews. Usually when I invested the time and money, that creates a desire to be optimistic. However, I ended up really disliking this writer. There’s an arrogance in the writer’s personality that is extremely off putting. There’s a fine line between authority and jerk. The writer crosses it. By page 100, all I kept thinking was STFU. And I hate Trump so this difficulty isn’t because of the subject matter. If you’re interested in Trump, you can do far better than this pedantic rant.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Greg Bates

    Who is this book even for? It's certainly not Republicans, who even now have a 90% approval rating for their smoothbrained leader. It's not fellow Never Trumpers, for whom he'd be preaching not just to a choir but a backlit, elegantly-placed mirror. No, Wilson's schtick is centered squarely at liberals - and not just any liberals, but decorum-obsessed centrists who can be swayed by the words of someone who approves of everything goddamn thing Trump does but hates the way he does it. I used to adm Who is this book even for? It's certainly not Republicans, who even now have a 90% approval rating for their smoothbrained leader. It's not fellow Never Trumpers, for whom he'd be preaching not just to a choir but a backlit, elegantly-placed mirror. No, Wilson's schtick is centered squarely at liberals - and not just any liberals, but decorum-obsessed centrists who can be swayed by the words of someone who approves of everything goddamn thing Trump does but hates the way he does it. I used to admit a bit of grudging respect for Wilson: he's a ghoul, but his troll game is A1. (Remember that this is the guy who called Trump's supporters "childless losers who masturbate to anime" live on CNN). But if Everything Trump Touches Dies is a troll, it's a painfully overwrought one - full of sideswipes at former colleagues, takedowns of the weakest members of the Trump administration's roster, and appeals to Democrats that if they just got rid of those inconvenient issues like abortion and guns, they too could have the support of the 10% of Republicans who chose political exile over bending the knee. Fucking barf.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    If you consider yourself a conservative, this is required reading. I particularly enjoy the wit, but the utter brutality of this takedown cuts really close to the bone. I laughed out loud so many times reading this, but in the end, it describes a dire situation we find ourselves in, and doesn't lend much hope that the GOP will hold Trump to account for his actions, even as it destroys the GOP for generations to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julie Olson

    I've started reading this and thoroughly regret falling for the hype. Despite his cleverness with insults and name-calling, his descriptions of women, Republican or Democrat, is ugly and sexist. But truth be told, his name-calling is ugly, too. Definitely not worth your time or your money.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Holmes

    I think people should make some effort to avoid immersing myself in the opinions of those they agree with, and to expose themselves to smart people who they disagree with. As such, I would probably not read a book with a title like this if it was written by a liberal, since I'm mostly left-of-center and I despise Donald Trump and Trumpism. Fortunately in this case, Rick Wilson is a conservative Republican, so I'll call this one fair game. Everything Trump Touches Dies is mostly a comical rant. Wi I think people should make some effort to avoid immersing myself in the opinions of those they agree with, and to expose themselves to smart people who they disagree with. As such, I would probably not read a book with a title like this if it was written by a liberal, since I'm mostly left-of-center and I despise Donald Trump and Trumpism. Fortunately in this case, Rick Wilson is a conservative Republican, so I'll call this one fair game. Everything Trump Touches Dies is mostly a comical rant. Wilson includes a bit of strategic insight and an impassioned argument for why the Republican party must be saved from the disease of Trumpism, but that's really a sideshow in what's basically a long-form version of his writing for The Daily Beast: cleverly written creative insults for President Postliterate Bestwords, his incompetent and repulsive cronies in the White House, and his "Vichy Republican" enablers in Congress and the media. As such, this really isn't a book to turn to for improved understanding. If you're entertained by clever insults and would like to hear a #NeverTrump Republican rip into other Republicans for nine hours, you will be entertained by ETTD. And Rick Wilson is very good at insults. BTW, while about 90% of Wilson's wrath is aimed at Trump and his enablers, he does take some shots at Democrats, who will be rightfully annoyed by his use of the phrase "pro-abortion" and his characterization of liberal views about gun control. He is a conservative Republican, after all.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES. (2018). Rick Wilson. ***. You can probably guess from the title that his work is not a reasoned examination of the current administration. You would be right. The author – a consultant to the Republican Party in general and to the world of politics in particular – is truly pissed off with the current players in Washington. He not only lambastes Trump, but goes after most of his staff (those that are still employed), family, and followers. The book serves as a usefu EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES. (2018). Rick Wilson. ***. You can probably guess from the title that his work is not a reasoned examination of the current administration. You would be right. The author – a consultant to the Republican Party in general and to the world of politics in particular – is truly pissed off with the current players in Washington. He not only lambastes Trump, but goes after most of his staff (those that are still employed), family, and followers. The book serves as a useful encyclopedia of the actions of the Trump administration to date, and then comes up with predictions of where the gang is headed next. Much of the commentary is drawn from life, and based on interviews with people really involved in the world at hand. Much of though is based on pure rant by the author. In most cases, the author goes over the top to express his rage about Trump, and wants to show all the sheets. I’d recommend a careful skimming rather than any careful analysis. There’s too much here that is put in to confuse the reader.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Once again I find myself contemplating the strange political alignments that I see since the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. Rick Wilson has been a Republican strategist for 30 years and is probably responsible for multitudes of political ads that I have hated, but he and I agree that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is an unmitigated disaster for this country and the world. I've been following Wilson on Twitter and love his snark, which he uses very effectively in this Once again I find myself contemplating the strange political alignments that I see since the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. Rick Wilson has been a Republican strategist for 30 years and is probably responsible for multitudes of political ads that I have hated, but he and I agree that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is an unmitigated disaster for this country and the world. I've been following Wilson on Twitter and love his snark, which he uses very effectively in this book that reviews the damage done by both Trump himself and the Trumpism adopted by the Republican party. I was also reminded why if Trump weren't occupying the White House why Wilson & I would be on the opposite sides of the political fence, since he also takes a few swings and Obama, Pelosi and Democrats in general. (Though some of his criticisms of the Democratic Party are valid). People who are anti-Trump will enjoy this book; people who are Trump fans will use it as kindling their fireplace. Wilson does talk about conservatisim that doesn't want to outlaw gay marriage or marijuana, which isn't any sort of conservatism that I've seen since 1980. He holds out hope for the future for conservatism, while predicting victories for Democrats in the short term due to the GOP's slavish devotion to Trump.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    Funny!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gary Moreau

    The man can write! While the humor is acerbic, if you have any sense of humor at all you will lol in every chapter. Rick Wilson has been a GOP consultant and “gleeful hatchet man” for 30 years. He is also a charter member of the Never Trump movement. He detests Trump, the politician, the man, and the haircut, but he comes at it from the right, not the left. The book is an exhaustive assessment of the Trump team, both present and past, and of the forces that brought him to Pennsylvania Avenue. Ther The man can write! While the humor is acerbic, if you have any sense of humor at all you will lol in every chapter. Rick Wilson has been a GOP consultant and “gleeful hatchet man” for 30 years. He is also a charter member of the Never Trump movement. He detests Trump, the politician, the man, and the haircut, but he comes at it from the right, not the left. The book is an exhaustive assessment of the Trump team, both present and past, and of the forces that brought him to Pennsylvania Avenue. There have been many exhumations of the 2016 election but this is one of the better ones. In essence we all contributed to the election of Donald Trump, although many, according to Wilson, did so out of complacency, not active support. It was the result nobody, other than the man himself, perhaps, expected. But there it is. Many people, Wilson contends, could have stopped Trump. And he saves some of his harshest criticism for fellow conservatives in politics and the media that he believes sold out to Trumpism, often out of fear. The result, he contends, is the virtual destruction of the GOP and the conservative movement. The book is not just a tell-all, however. The larger theme is Wilson’s concern that Trump’s brand of “authoritarian statism” could have a negative impact on our democratic institutions long after Trump leaves office. There is, he maintains, “an odds-on chance that our grandchildren will hear this tale while hunched over guttering fires in the ruins of a radioactive Mad Max-style hellscape.” While I admittedly do not share Wilson’s politics, I do think it’s a legitimate concern. Trump is not being tamed by the stature of the office and has demonstrated less impulse control than even his most ardent supporters must have expected. The question, of course, is what we can do to preserve our democracy. And that’s where the book falls short, in part, I think, just because there is no obvious way out of the hole we are in. As a result, I considered ratings of anywhere from 1 to 5 at various points in the book. (I also admit that I ran hot and cold on the acidity of the bullying at times. It’s excessive after a while.) Nonetheless, it is a thorough analysis from a different perspective by an insider who certainly has the experience to justify an opinion. If you follow politics at all that makes it worthy of your time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steve Peifer

    If you are a conservative who despairs of what Trump has done to the country, the white hot rage that Wilson feels for Trump is satisfying fare. His plan for a way for the GOP to move forward makes lots of sense. When he is on, he is pretty hilarious. By the end, his shtick wore a little thin, but it is still a worthy read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Buckle up, y'all, because this review is going to get personal. I found Rick Wilson in the aftermath of the 2016 election, and he was a beacon of hope for me. Not only did he restore my faith in Conservatism (hey, not all of them are racist, gay-hating creeps who want to build a wall and bomb abortion clinics!); he restored my sense of humor and laughter. He made it OK to laugh at Trump supporters. He called out the Emperor's lack of clothes. He made me brave. More than that, I wanted to emulate h Buckle up, y'all, because this review is going to get personal. I found Rick Wilson in the aftermath of the 2016 election, and he was a beacon of hope for me. Not only did he restore my faith in Conservatism (hey, not all of them are racist, gay-hating creeps who want to build a wall and bomb abortion clinics!); he restored my sense of humor and laughter. He made it OK to laugh at Trump supporters. He called out the Emperor's lack of clothes. He made me brave. More than that, I wanted to emulate him. If only I could write like that. The fact he was an ad maker on top of all of it...I mean, he's living my dream. I really, REALLY wanted to be like him, professionally, comedicly, ethically. I followed him on Twitter, I read all of his articles, I listened to him when he appeared on podcasts. I was a Rick Wilson FAN. I still am a fan, but much less so. I think part of the downgrade is because the book, like my approach to Wilson, was an unfairly high standard. I went in thinking this insider was going to blow the lid off of the entire GOP, call them out on their utter corruptness and moral bankruptcy. Instead, it was a regurgitation of the last 18 months of Wilson's Twitter feed. Don't get me wrong -- it's funny as hell. But if you're familiar with his Daily Beast writing, then this will probably not have too much new information in it. It also felt rushed -- there were several instances where I noticed a lack of internal editing (ie I think he made the same jokes a couple of times, but not on purpose). And then he started talking about the problems with the left. And truly I was most excited to read those parts - to learn lessons from this guru that I could take back to my tribe! But I found his analyses of Dems to be...what's a kind phrase for "completely wrong"? He seems to believe that Democrats all have "purity tests". Fair enough, though not always. He seems to think Dems should be more flexible about abortion -- tell me, what exactly does being "flexible" about abortion look like? I certainly don't see folks on the right being nuanced on the topic, why is it that Democrats are expected to give ground here, particularly when there is intrinsic asymmetry in the pro-life and pro-choice stances (one is a purity test itself, saying no one should have abortions; the other is inherently flexible, allowing women the choice to get or not get abortions. Not the same. Sorry). When he started ranting about Nancy Pelosi, I started to get real suspicious. It's not that Nancy Pelosi is infallible -- I don't know a damn thing about her and don't care. It's that she is a go-to punching bag for empty-headed liberal-bashing and I'm frankly tired of hearing about her. I've heard so many conservatives rail that she should retire because it would help Democrats out a ton (?); explain that to me, slowly. Because I really, REALLY would hate to think it had anything to do with the fact that she fundraises like a boss. The level of irrational hatred towards this woman is inexplicable to me, and folks who fixate on her and pretend she is some kind of cancer for Democrats have failed to convince me. Finally, there was Mr. Wilson's analysis of guns. He believes guns are a forgone topic of discussion, and that Dems should stop talking about gun reform. Completely. I'm not kidding. And not only is that bullshit in theory, it's bullshit on the street. Voters are proving Wilson wrong, and not just in blue states but in purple ones like Virginia. Young people are much more likely to have an anti-gun outlook than they did before, and it's because they are facing increased violence and death at the hands of guns. More importantly, Mr. Wilson is part of the problem here; he claims that people break for Republicans because Democrats will take away people's guns. But, as Anna Marie-Cox pointed out to him, Wilson and other GOP ad makers are the ones who frame the issue like that. Democrats who say they are for common sense gun reform are not secretly planning on taking away your guns, Rick. Stop saying it, it's not fucking true, you sound insane and you're factually wrong. And frankly, I'm losing my patience with people who frame the conversation in such extreme ways; that we must either have complete, unbridled access to all firearms, or that the government will take ALL the guns away from EVERYONE. Stop. Just stop it. It's unproductive, dishonest, and it leaves high school kids senselessly murdered. You want to know why we can't have conversations about guns? Because people like Wilson have pumped toxic bullshit about "the libruls are coming for your guns!" into the minds of voters FOR YEARS, and now they actually believe their own nonsense. I know Mr. Wilson is a big of a, shall we say, ammo-phile. I had always found this to be one of the areas we simply disagreed about, but I see now that he has drunk too much of his own kool aid to think clearly on the issue. It was disappointing to recognize that a person I put so much faith in had this gap in his logic about this one issue, where I thought he was so dispassionately pragmatic in others. When 70% of Americans support increased regulation on a type of firearm, and you keep insisting Democrats should give up talking about it, you're giving incorrect advise that reveals your own wishful thinking. YOU want Democrats to stop talking about it. That's all. If Mr. Wilson's prescription for Democrats is to become more generally right-leaning, fire Nancy Pelosi, give up ground on abortion, stop fighting for gun reform altogether...I mean, that sounds exactly like what a Republican wants a Democratic party to do, because after that what issues would make up the actual Democratic platform? If you'd told me Dems need to update or re-prioritize party planks on education, immigration, or public health, I'd listen. But the topics Wilson says are lost causes are also pretty big deals. I personally can't reconcile the idea of giving up on common sense gun reform because kids die, all the time, unnecessarily, from a lack of comprehensive laws around access to firearms. And the idea that I am naive or in a liberal bubble saying that is imperially wrong -- polls and votes back me up. Basically, once I recognized that Mr. Wilson's analysis might be off the mark in one area (in this case, I felt it acutely because it was in his criticism of MY beliefs), it made me more aware of his fallibility. Once you see the cracks in his thought-patterns, they appear in other places. I remembered all of the times Mr. Wilson forecast something on Twitter that was dead wrong (his faith in Louise Mensch, his prediction that Jason Chavetz would quit the day after he announced he would not run for reelection, his conflation of a nasty insulting article about Jared Kushner with actual long-term damage to Mr. Kushner's business or security clearances...). You start thinking that perhaps this is not the staggering, insightful genius you believed he was. While it was exciting to hear him lash out against people I disliked, you realize that he is good at manipulating people into blindly and illogically hating other people. That's his forte. His nastiness against Trump voters, while entertaining, is part of the same rage-inducing machine that produces anger during elections. It's exhausting. There's only so many jokes you can make about MAGA folks being fat, or gross, or virgins, or mentally-handicapped, or drug addicts before you start feeling like something is wrong. Mr. Wilson has genuinely lost out on many professional opportunities by vocally identifying as a "Never Trumper". I will always respect him for that. But part of his existence now is existentially and professionally threatened because he probably feels in the wilderness, and irrelevant. He is literally a consultant that no one wants to believe right now. That would suck a lot, and I believe part of the way Mr. Wilson is compensating for this feeling of dread is by exaggerating the negative effect his adversaries are having on his party and the country, so as to validate his own stances. That's what pained me the most to admit after I read the book: the title is inaccurate. Not everything Trump touches dies. The GOP is doing quite well in the short term. The people that are worse off after Trump were already losers (the Mooch wasn't exactly a rising star before Trump; Bannon is ten times better off having come into Trump's orbit; Kellyanne Conway was a loser nobody before getting Trump elected). In fact, many of the examples Mr. Wilson lists in the book were, by his own admission, folks that seemed to be doing ok but were somehow suffering...somehow. I wish so badly that #ettd was real, just like I wish Rick Wilson was a superhero. Confirmation bias is a helluva drug, I guess.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    Description: A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism. In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absurdity of American politics in the age of Trump. Wilson mercilessly exposes the damage Trump has done to the country, to the Republican Party Description: A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism. In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absurdity of American politics in the age of Trump. Wilson mercilessly exposes the damage Trump has done to the country, to the Republican Party he served for decades, and to the conservative movement that has abandoned its principles for the worst President in American history. No left-winger, Wilson is a lifelong conservative who delivers his withering critique of Trump from the right. A leader of the Never Trump movement, he warns his own party of the political catastrophe that leaves everyone involved with Trump with reputations destroyed and lives in tatters. Wilson unblinkingly dismantles Trump’s deceptions and the illusions to which his supporters cling, shedding light on the guilty parties who empower and enable Trump in Washington and the news media. He calls out the race-war dead-enders who hitched a ride with Trump, the alt-right basement dwellers who worship him, and the social conservatives who looked the other way. Everything Trump Touches Dies deftly chronicles the tragicomic Trump story from the early campaign days through the shock of election night, to the inconceivable trainwreck of Trump's first year. Rick Wilson provides not only an insightful analysis of the Trump administration, but also an optimistic path forward for the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country. Combining insider political analysis, blunt truths, and black humor, Everything Trump Touches Dies is perfect for those on either side of the aisle who need a dose of unvarnished reality, a good laugh, a strong cocktail, and a return to sanity in American politics.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gregg

    Barely pages into his book, Republican strategist Rick Wilson lays the blame of the Trump phenomenon squarely on the shoulders of the American education system. “If there’s a sharper critique of America’s failed education system than the breathless, mindless Trump voter, I can’t name it,” he says, echoing a tired, screechy line we’ve heard before from the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson (on flat earthers, same difference) and the Century Foundation. “Given the dumbing-down of the American education Barely pages into his book, Republican strategist Rick Wilson lays the blame of the Trump phenomenon squarely on the shoulders of the American education system. “If there’s a sharper critique of America’s failed education system than the breathless, mindless Trump voter, I can’t name it,” he says, echoing a tired, screechy line we’ve heard before from the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson (on flat earthers, same difference) and the Century Foundation. “Given the dumbing-down of the American educational system in the past fifty years, graduating from high school now means you can draw air in and out of your lungs. Schools are long on feelings and short on critical thinking, to say nothing of civics, economics, or reading comprehension.” This is a battle for another day, but I’d dearly love Mr. Wilson to revisit things like NCLB, the signature law of a president I'm almost certain he supported, which played its own role in this “dumbing down” he’s talking about. And I’d like to draw his attention to his own words about the wealth gap in America, the gap that “has been shrugged off by Republicans for a generation” and which has its own particularly horrible effect on poor public school students. And all those attack ads he did against Obama in 2008? You know, the race against McCain and Sarah Palin, a Trump Beta version? Or the ad you made attacking Max Cleland in 2002? Where you likened a vote for the Democratic candidate to a vote for Sadaam Hussein and Osama bin Laden? You keep treating voters like idiots and then complain later about how voters are idiots, you might want to think carefully about how you come off there, hoss. Put it another way: We educators you despise so much, we’re fighting this kind of ignorance. You made money off it. Go fuck yourself. Ok, I got that off my chest. To the immediate point: Wilson is savage in Everything Trump Touches Dies, and it’s a welcome voice from the right. He’s heavy-handed and hilarious in his smackdowns of everything from Trump’s trade policy, to the fawning “alt-reich” factions bolstering his base to the media’s missteps, to the right-wing noise machine of Fox and Breitbart slinging bullshit in the name of antiestablishmentarianism, to the monstrosity of the 2017 tax bill and botched effort to repeal Obamacare, to the incompetents Trump surrounds himself with, to Trump himself...it’s a 300-plus page fountain of invective brimming over with empirical evidence and self-righteousness. I had to keep putting it down to catch my breath. Wilson not only highlights and revisits the tortuous epic of Trump’s first fifteen months in office, but he also connects certain dots I was previously unaware of. For example, sure, I rolled my eyes at Trump’s promises to revitalize the coal industry, but I forgot all about the Obama-shouldn’t-be-picking-winners-and-losers shrieks from the right in the face of the Soylyndra affair. The fact that those voices are silent when Trump humps coal barons in Pennsylvania for support doesn’t outrage them equally? Stupid me. Of course not. Every inchoate, rage-filled Tweet from a Trump supporter is another nail in the coffin of whatever political dialogue we used to have in the ether of cyberspace, and Wilson relies on them heavily to evaluate “the baser,” but he has plenty of his own spleen to pour all over the page in kind. Trump has “shallow, dick-measuring juvenile feuds with everyone who has ever looked at him cross-eyed.” Trump supporters cheering on his infamous “both sides were to blame” comment in the wake of the Charlottesville horror had to be “a paunchy, polo-shirted torch carrier” getting “an erection (they) normally couldn’t achieve without the proximity of (an) anime waifs body pillow.” And on and on. It doesn’t have quite the polish that Matt Taibbi does when firing arrows at Wall Street, but it’s close. Neither does Wilson spare contempt for prominent voices on the right and in the blogosphere not calling out this nonsense front and center (looking at you, McConnell, Ryan and supposedly sane conservative pro-business media). And if that weren’t enough, among the many, many travesties resulting from Trump’s America, we also have to prepare ourselves for a Trump 2.0 election cycle, filled with “a generation of candidates driven by rage, with Fox-level intellectual constructs...that have all the subtlety and introspection of the Breitbart comments section...They’ve...come to believe that the base, and only the base, matters. They’re looking away from a universe of survey data that show Donald Trump is narrowing the base into a demographic box canyon. There are only so many white dudes over the age of 50 with a high school education or below, and they’re a shrinking pool.” Dear God. Parker Malloy recently bemoaned how “insufferable” Trump will be as an ex-president. I never even considered what Trump acolytes would do to the election cycle. As if it weren’t polluted enough. Wilson is going after his own party here, and that alone makes him worth reading. Much like Thomas Frank’s lecturing Democrats in Listen, Liberal, Wilson has some good advice for the GOP, which it damn well better consider before the party completely self-destructs (that it hasn’t already is something I don’t pretend to understand). That he sees it as their responsibility is a line I particularly appreciate. I mean, if I have to hear one more well-fed white male making money off hack columns mutter, “Hey, I never voted for him” and thus letting himself off the hook, I’m going to scream. I myself am a well-fed white male who’s horrified at what the country decided to go with in 2016, and the fact that I didn’t vote for him does not let me off the hook for trying to do some elementary damage control within my sphere of influence. But the Republicans, undebatably, have a lot of Trump-juice on their hands, and if anyone should be looking in a mirror right now, wondering “Is it me?” it’s them. “Trump is a problem we’ll be a long time in solving,” he writes towards the end. “The damage to our institutions, our hopes, and our reputation in the world won’t be undone overnight or with a few sweet words. It will take work and commitment from people on the conservative side of the equation to admit and rectify the dangerous flirtation with authoritarian statism Trump represents.” Yes. God yes. This book offers one perspective on why this happened and what’s to be done about it. There will be others. The more honest dialogue, the better. But I have a particular zest to see more books that do this kind of unfettered, painful soul-searching.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jay Hinman

    Really funny screed by Rick Wilson, whose foul-mouthed Never-Trump articles have been a bright light these past two ugly years. He is a voice for rational and intelligent conservatism in an age where it seems everyone else sold out, sucked up or gave up. I need to buy this for my dad and leave it anonymously on his doorstep.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Misfit

    Wickedly funny and no one is spared. Love the Bannon/Roy Moore twist. It dragged a bit at the end (I skimmed) as Wilson went off over whatever it went off on, but otherwise solid reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Pankau

    A prominent GOP strategist and first-gen Never-Trumper vents his spleen for 300 pages and it’s awe-inspiring. Let’s get this out of the way first: no matter what you think of his politics, Wilson is one hell of a writer, and he is here to spew vitriol. There are no arguments here, just a litany of insults and rage that culminate in an unexpectedly warm vision for the future. And I mean that sincerely. This is the first book about politics in the Trump era that I’ve read that made me feel legitima A prominent GOP strategist and first-gen Never-Trumper vents his spleen for 300 pages and it’s awe-inspiring. Let’s get this out of the way first: no matter what you think of his politics, Wilson is one hell of a writer, and he is here to spew vitriol. There are no arguments here, just a litany of insults and rage that culminate in an unexpectedly warm vision for the future. And I mean that sincerely. This is the first book about politics in the Trump era that I’ve read that made me feel legitimately optimistic. But the bulk of the book is spent hurling insults at a long cadre of Trump acolytes, from Carter Page to Sean Hannity to Richard Spencer and everything in between. They all get burned in effigy. Wilson’s main charge is that Trump has cannibalized the Republican party to form his own cult, and that his not only puts the country at risk, but it has destroyed the Republican Party. Not “is destroying” but “has destroyed”. He cites special elections as evidence of a coming blue wave and chastises his party members for campaigning in Trump’s idiom rather than running away from it. To his mind, that strategy can’t work for anyone not named Trump, and it only barely worked for Trump. He blames Republicans for this—not so much the Trump voters, whom he is quick to dismiss as morons, but the strategists who saw him coming and did nothing. There are some mea culpas thrown in for good measure since he was one of those strategist. His excuse: "We always thought of conservatives as having a certain rational underpinning. We were so, so wrong." He talks about how the pundit class took the Tea Party movement and cultivated it into something that was supposed to be hungry for old-fashioned conservative values but was instead hungry for a strong-man. "In short, those voters we groomed since 2010 were perfect marks for Donald Trump, political con-man of the century." There’s a skeeziness under this that never gets fully addressed. A sense of “I got you drunk so you’d come home with me, not THAT guy.” He spends so much time calling Trump-supporters fools, but only tacitly admits to helping celebrate foolishness, especially around conspiracy theories and distrust in the media. But he also blames the media for not knowing better than to fall for Trump’s antics, and he’s got a fair point there. I would have liked more contrition. He mentions Gorsuch a number of times without ever acknowledging that Gorsuch’s seat was stolen. Hell, I would have liked more arguments as to why Trump is a terrible businessman—a point Wilson asserts but never really justifies with evidence, and it’s not like the evidence is hard to find. But I’m not going to dock him points just because the book I wanted isn’t the book he wrote. He’s here to commit an act of iconoclasm. Most of Wilson’s ire is directed at Republicans for either not realizing how toxic Trump would be or for enabling him. He dissects them with precision and elegance. He off-handedly calls Trump’s proposed border-wall “Douchehenge” and I laughed out loud. He refers to Don Jr and Eric Trump as Qusay and Uday (which is hilarious—look it up if you don’t get it). He calls out the Evangelical right for their hypocrisy in supporting Trump and basically suggests ousting them from the conservative movement. He gleefully recounts helping craft ads to defeat Roy Moore and effectively torpedo Steve Bannon’s post-Breitbart political career (a quid-pro-quo after Bannon had made threats about Wilson’s family). His most often-used insult is to call a man a virgin, which begins to feel tired until he draws a parallel with incels and jihadists, as if to assert that all violence is perpetrated but sexually repressed angry young men, and if that isn't one hell of a burn to likes of, well, Stephen Miller, then I don't know what is. This is not to say that he doesn’t have bile for Democrats as well, it’s just broader. Things like "The political correctness culture… is all about punishing wrong thoughts." (no it isn’t) and “Democrats are objectively bad at politics” (okay, I can’t argue with that one). And it’s not to say that all of his clever jabs land. One line that invokes Billie Holiday feels particularly tone-deaf: "His father, who was once arrested at a Klan rally in Queens, famously red-lined New York apartments to prevent African-Americans from renting them. And the STRANGE FRUIT of Trump-the-elder's racism didn't fall far from the tree." (emphasis mine) Finally, and most importantly, Wilson lays out a vision of conservatism that’s pragmatic and thoughtful. And while I don’t agree with his vision (or his assertion that "We've always been a party with our eyes cast to the far future”), it demonstrates a dreamy-eyed idealism and a legitimate love of country, and dammit, I’m here for smart people I don’t agree with!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    By now unless you're living under a rock you should know that DT is not the new norm, his shocking personality trait disorder is affecting our nation, those who protect him are feeding his ego and providing a source of supply. What I can tell you is this: I married a malignant narcissist for 11 yrs; together 13 yrs; and good luck getting anyone to believe your story. Those who had the unfortunate situation of meeting or working with DT will have years of recovery in repairing their lives as these By now unless you're living under a rock you should know that DT is not the new norm, his shocking personality trait disorder is affecting our nation, those who protect him are feeding his ego and providing a source of supply. What I can tell you is this: I married a malignant narcissist for 11 yrs; together 13 yrs; and good luck getting anyone to believe your story. Those who had the unfortunate situation of meeting or working with DT will have years of recovery in repairing their lives as these narcs seek to destroy while ruining the reputations of their victims using smear campaigns, hush money, threats, blackmail, and so much more. I've tried for years to get others to see the two sides of this personality disorder known as NPD and it's extremely difficult because people see what they want to believe not what's reality. People honestly believe others are inherently good not evil. They truly hope our President will be a leader to them. However, those of us who've dealt with one know how this story ends and you don't have to go far to see the trail of destruction left behind. The author uses some harsh language which I felt was inappropriate in getting his point across (but I guess I'm ol school). I loved the inside intro in which the author notes: Everyone involved with Trump leaves with their reputation destroyed and their life in tatters. Look he's a con artist whose able to sell himself. DT knew what to sell and that's anger and hatred at the world with propaganda thrown in for good measure. Empty promises, lies, deception, betrayal, manipulation, threats , coercion, pay to play schemes, cashbacks, corruption, hell throw it all in the bag. I will end with this that the author noted: By April 2018 Donald Trump's administration had lost more Cabinet members and senior staff than any administration in the past 150 years. For those who think it's a game they won't be getting the last laugh I can assure you. Many of the victims and survivors like myself know how devastating being involved with a narcissist is as this is not just a vanity or selfish person this is a monster in disguise. You cannot change one, you cannot reason with one, you cannot communicate with one, and good luck to our nation. It's sad to see our nation will now endure gaslighting, triangulation, projection, mirroring, co dependency, silence, and so much more... The reality is much much worse than anything you can ever imagine and we just gave this man the red button and that's the scariest thing I can witness. For survivors like myself I don't watch the news; I can't as it causes too many flashbacks, anxiety, panic attacks from my years of abuse but I assure you this won't end well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Renay Russell

    I really enjoyed this book. I first discovered Rick Wilson through Twitter and love his sarcasm and creative insults and this book did not disappoint!

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