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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Trump Structure

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun. The nomination phase has effectively ended. At Axios, Mike Allen:
1. Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, the top two officials at the Palm Beach-based campaign, run a tight, lean ship.Wiles is a former top political adviser to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who left on bitter terms. LaCivita is a former Marine with decades of brass-knuckle campaign experience. Along with well-connected Trump senior adviser Brian Jack, they put in place a methodical process for Republicans to seek Trump's endorsement for congressional and statewide offices. This machine gave Trump leverage with rising stars throughout the party, along with extensive data about their home-state political operations.
Trump campaign staffers get along, stay in their lanes and don't leak like sieves — all dramatic changes from his past operations.

2. The Trump team has methodically wired obscure state Republican delegate rules to his advantage. Operatives worked state by state over the past three years to be sure he benefited from mechanics such as winner-take-all rules."This team is lean, efficient, experienced, eye on the prize — none of the backstabbing and gossip and drama," ...
Here again, Trump was greatly limited by disorganization and bureaucratic naïveté when he was in the White House. The Heritage Foundation and other groups are spending millions to make sure that doesn't happen again if he wins.

3. In Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump built extensive ground operations that helped cement him as a formidable front-runner in both states almost a year before voting began.

4. The establishment opposition melted and proved much more amenable to his ways and plans.The shackles imposed on Trump in Term 1 are gone, especially in Congress.

5. Trump, who had flown solo his entire political life, allowed his allies to embrace the Heritage Foundation and other outside groups that are building talent banks and policy blueprints to help him swiftly staff the government to control and shrink what Trumpers call "the deep state."Heritage president Kevin Roberts recently told The New York Times that he sees the think tank's role as "institutionalizing Trumpism."

6. Maybe the biggest shocker: Trump took indictments on 91 felonies in four criminal cases — a death knell for any other candidate — and turned them into a net positive. Even many traditional Republicans see the prosecutions as piling on.

 Lulu Garcia-Navarro at NYT:
Since taking over the Heritage Foundation in 2021, Kevin D. Roberts has been making his mark on an institution that came to prominence during the Reagan years and has long been seen as an incubator of conservative policy and thought. Roberts, who was not well known outside policy circles when he took over, has pushed the think tank away from its hawkish roots by arguing against funding the war in Ukraine, a turnabout that prompted some of Heritage’s policy analysts to leave. Now he’s looking ahead, to the 2024 election and beyond. Roberts told me that he views Heritage’s role today as “institutionalizing Trumpism.” This includes leading Project 2025, a transition blueprint that outlines a plan to consolidate power in the executive branch, dismantle federal agencies and recruit and vet government employees to free the next Republican president from a system that Roberts views as stacked against conservative power. The lesson of Trump’s first year in office, Roberts told me, is that “the Trump administration, with the best of intentions, simply got a slow start. And Heritage and our allies in Project 2025 believe that must never be repeated.”

"Now, Putin and Russia deserve the blame. I’ve been very clear about that. Having said that, it was our saber-rattling about Ukraine entering NATO that is one of the many factors that led to this. "


One priority for both your organization and the Republican Party writ large is reducing the size of the federal work force. What do you envision when you say, as you have said, you want to destroy the administrative state?

I envision the destruction that I’m referring to, which I presume is the real focus of your question, as a political entity being significantly weakened. People will lose their jobs. Hopefully their lives are able to flourish in spite of that. Buildings will be shut down. Hopefully they can be repurposed for private industry. But the administrative state — most importantly, what we’re trying to destroy is the political influence it has over individual American sovereignty, and the only way to do that, or one of the ways to do that, is to diminish the number of unelected bureaucrats who are wielding that power instead of Congress.
    In a recent podcast episode, you were speaking with Jesse Kelly, the right-wing radio host, and the episode was about, and I’m quoting here, “the secret Communist movement inside America.” And you were not talking about Chinese government infiltration. You said about those employed in the U.S. government, “These men and women, these Communists, really, are in positions where they’re dictating with the power, the authority of law, what other Americans do.” You use the word “Communist” a lot to describe those you might disagree with politically inside this country.

    Well, at least a few of them must be Communists. I think there are far more Chinese Communists who’ve infiltrated our government than American Communists, but at the very least, they’re socialists. So if I were to revise that, I would say they were socialists, not Communists.