GOP Strategist Rick Wilson: Trump Is 'Electoral Poison'

August 7, 2018

By Jim Roberts

Associates of President Trump are on trial, others are in deep legal trouble, and the party that rode into power with Trump is likely facing defeat in the November midterm elections.

That is the legacy that Donald Trump has left in his short time as president, says longtime GOP strategist Rick Wilson.

“Donald Trump’s long, long history in business and in politics now is that anyone around him becomes corrupted,” Wilson told Cheddar. “Their reputation becomes shattered. They get fired; they get into legal trouble and their lives turn into hell.

“And unfortunately for the conservative movement and the Republican Party the same thing is in the process of happening right now.”

Wilson, a frequent political commentator on Cheddar, is the author of a new book “Everything Trump Touches Dies,” in which he attempts to document the damage Trump has done to the country and to the Republican Party.

“What upsets me is that all these people around me that said we had all these principles, they’re rock-solid; we’re conservatives; were going to stick with them,” Wilson said. “We have abandoned them almost completely.”

As a prime example, Wilson cited trade and tariffs.

“We used to be for free trade,” he said, referring to his fellow Republicans. “And Donald Trump is now, like, ‘I hate free trade.’ And these guys are now like, ‘of course we need to have tariffs.’”

“It’s nuts,” he added. “There’s a lot of disappointment in where the direction people in my party took this impulsiveness when Trump came in.”

Wilson predicted that the upcoming November elections would be a “solid Democratic midterm.” But he said he didn’t foresee a Democratic blowout that would bring a vast 70-seat swing in the U.S. House. He said that 25 Republican House seats were already vulnerable, without factoring in opposition to Trump.

But “now we’re seeing that the Democrats are picking up seats in places that are solidly red, solidly Republican, like Pennsylvania 18,” which Democrat Conor Lamb won in a special election last March.

To take control of the House, the Democrats need to make a net gain of 24 seats in the midterm elections.

For Democrats to succeed in those races, Wilson suggested that candidates avoid talk of impeachment and stick to local issues.

“I think we’ve seen a bunch of races win this year staying away from impeachment and talking about issues that are local and state-based,” he said. “A lot of those were not about impeachment; they were about presenting a viable mature alternative to Republicans who have fallen into the swamp of Trumpism.”