In a column for USA Today, longtime Republican campaign consultant Stuart Stevens admonished GOP lawmakers for standing by silently while a desperate Donald Trump has turned to outright racism to save his re-election bid, saying the president's words will haunt the party for years.
Pointing out that he has worked in five presidential campaigns over the years, Stevens -- who is a Never-Trumper who works with the Lincoln Project -- said the type of campaign the president is running now won't work in a rapidly changing country.
Writing, "Republicans are still failing to win Black voters in substantial numbers. For decades the party admitted that was in fact a failure and at least attempted to change. But now it has settled into a comfortable embrace of white grievance and Trump is running as the Yankee George Wallace," Stevens added, "I’m a seventh generation Mississippian who has worked on winning Republican races for governor and Senate across the South, and I’ve never seen Trump’s level of direct racist appeal work."
"It’s clear his instinct is to make the 2020 election a cultural war, which in his interpretation is just a socially acceptable term for a race war," he wrote while posing the question whether it makes "political sense."
"The answer is that it doesn’t but it is what Trump wants to do," he suggested. "There is a need in Trump world to describe his erratic behavior and lack of discipline as some kind of brilliant hidden strategy because otherwise you are left with the conclusion that he is a blithering idiot. Which, of course, Trump is, but he’s an idiot with deep racial animosity that dates back decades. Now with his reelection campaign crumbling around him, Trump is lashing out trying to divide the country along racial lines."
Ultimately Stevens wondered why Republicans -- with the exception of Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) -- have remained silent.
Outside of Romney, he wrote, "Has any Republican senator or House member even uttered the words 'Black lives matter?' What does it say about the future of the Republican Party when my home state of Mississippi finally lowered the Confederate battle flag just as a Republican president tries to raise it? It leaves me deeply pessimistic about the future of the Republican Party, while deeply hopeful about America."
He then warned, "Trump is trying to refight the Civil War. He’ll discover in November that it’s over. And America won."
You can read the whole piece here.