Rick Wilson – Being an Anti-Trump Conservative and “Running Against the Devil” | The Daily Show


You are
an interesting breed of cat, as they would say
back in the day, because you are a Never Trumper,
but you are still a Republican -and a conservative.
-Eh. Does that still exist
in this country? Conservative
more than Republican. There’s no Republican Party
anymore– it’s dead. Donald Trump killed it.
Like, he’s like a parasite that ate its host
form the inside out. -(laughter)
-It’s over. So I’m… I’m one
of the small group of survivors from… from the old school
of limited government, individual freedom and liberty,
constitutional adherence. You know, there’s not…
not many of us. You could fit us around a table
at a Waffle House most days. -(laughter)
-But, you know, we’re still sort of trying
to hold the line in this… in this very crazed era. It’s interesting
that you say that, because, you know,
a lot of Republicans said that before Trump became president. You know, we had people
like Lindsey Graham on the show. We had people like, you know,
Rand Paul on the show. And they were all like,
“No, this is what we believe in, and Trump is not a Republican.” -Right. -He became president,
and they were like, “He’s completely a Republican.” So how do you begin
to convince Republican voters that Donald Trump
is not a Republican? Or has he just redefined
what that is now, and is he the new conservative? Are you now an outlier? Well, those guys are
what we refer to in the business as liars and cowards. -(cheering and applause) -They
are afraid of Donald Trump. -They still hate him.
-Right. They still think he is a…
animated piece of excrement. They do not love this guy.
They are afraid of him. And the few of us who are
willing to call BS on him and speak openly
and speak publicly and stand against him, you know, we may be the last priests
of a dying religion, but we’re gonna try to uphold it
as long as we can. He has broken
the Republican party. It doesn’t believe in anything. -Fiscal discipline,
out the window. -Mm-hmm. Limiting the size of government,
out the window. All these things that he… that these guys all said
were vital to them… Follow the Constitution. You know, Ted Cruz used to say
he’d set himself on fire if he didn’t follow
the Constitution, and now he’s like,
“Yeah, whatev.” It-it doesn’t matter at all
to them anymore. And so they have let themselves
be so debased and-and so utterly compromised that-that they think
we’re the aliens. They think we’re the outliers.
They think we’re the wrong ones. But I’m sorry,
you got to call it like it… like it really is, and they have given themselves
over to a cult. It’s interesting that you…
that you say this, because I-I do appreciate
that you have not, like, switched sides or anything,
you know? It’s not like you’ve gone like,
“No, I’m now a Democrat.” You’re saying, “No, look,
I’m still a conservative. -I don’t think Donald Trump
represents our values.” -No. This book is interesting
because you say, “Running against the devil: a plot to save America
from Trump.” But then, interestingly enough,
you say, -“And Democrats
from themselves.” -Sure. So, then,
tell me what that means. What advice do you think you could possibly give
to Democrats even though you wouldn’t exist
in a world where you would normally vote
for them? So, for 30 years,
me and guys like me built a very smart,
very sophisticated system to wreck the hell
out of Democratic candidates, and we did it
all over the country. Until Donald Trump came along, there was a period
of about 20 years where we took
almost 2,000 seats away from the Democrats
across the country in state legislatures,
in Congress, in the Senate. We took over control of 38 state governments
and legislatures over that time. We did it by being better
at the root politics, at the hard politics. We did it by being willing
to do things that were very tough, right? Running ads that were very tough -and made people lose
their minds. -Right. And we did it
by running candidates who fit with their states
and districts. So, look, I helped elect a Republican governor
in Vermont four times. Now, that is not an easy task. But our guy
wasn’t a perfect Republican. He wasn’t a super hard right
evangelical Southerner. He was a guy who fit Vermont,
and it worked. And the Democrats tend to have this thing
of ideological homogeneousness. They want everybody to be
the same policy perspective, whether you’re in San Francisco
or whether you’re in Virginia -or whether you’re in Alabama.
-Huh, that’s interesting. And, so, we were able to put candidates out there
who were not… You know, they didn’t fit
every single ideological test, -but we won a lot of seats
that way. -Right. So-so, are you saying,
if I’m understanding correctly, are you then saying
that Republicans have always played to win -and Democrats play to be right?
-Yeah. Democrats play
to win an argument. I play to win an election. I don’t care how I get
to the finish line, and I… You know,
except for breaking the law, and occasionally you get
breaking the law adjacent. -But…
-(laughter) You want to make sure
that you get to the goal line, and sometimes that means
not saying what’s on your mind. Sometimes that means saying,
“Oh, well, look, “our polling tells us
Medicare for All -scares the crap
out of suburban women.” -Right. “But let’s talk
about Medicare for All, because why would we need
suburban women?” You know, this is…
The Democrats fall into these traps
that they build for themselves. So, then, how would you…
how would you break that, then? What would… what would you say
to a Democrat tonight? Where you go like…
These people are running, and at some point, one of them -is going to be head-to-head
with Donald Trump. -Sure. At some point, they’re going
to have to try and fight for those 100,000 odd votes -that swung the electoral
college. -That’s right. Right? We’ve seen
that it’s not a numbers game. -It’s an electoral college game.
-Mm-hmm. It absolutely is. So, how would you then say
to one of those people, “Hey, this is how you can win while still maintaining
your Democratic values”? Right. First off, win the game before you try to start
declaring the victory conditions and start saying,
“I’m gonna do ‘X,’ ‘Y’ and ‘Z.'” Ideological promises are a trap. (clears throat) When you
promise people something and build a plan and a policy
in modern campaigns, that’s an invitation
for me to put my nerds to work and look through
your 600-page health care plan and find ten things that scare
the crap out of people. -Huh.
-And then I make ads about them, and then you run for the hills,
and you look… You don’t understand why
people suddenly can’t-can’t… They-they say things to you
that you know aren’t quite true
about your policy. -Right, right, right.
-Deeper and deeper in the weeds. But the three things a Democrat
has to do in this election… They have to fight
where the fight is. The electoral college,
whether you love it or hate it, is the only game in town. That’s the only game there is. So you got to fight
in Wisconsin, in Florida, in Pennsylvania,
in Ohio, in Arizona– in a handful of states. The election is over
in California. I know how they’re gonna vote. I know how Mississippi
is gonna vote. Those things are done. You got to fight
where the fight is. You got to put the resources,
’cause they will not have as much money as Donald Trump
unless it’s Mike Bloomberg, and then he has more money
than God. -(clears throat)
-(laughter) You’ve got to put it
into the states that matter, and then you’ve got to target
in the states even more finely. And they will target… You know,
the Democrats are smart. They will be targeting
those suburban women -who are breaking away
from the GOP. -Right. -They’ll be targeting those
Obama-Trump voters. -Uh-huh. -They’ll be targeting those
Bernie-Trump voters. -Right. They’ll be going
after narrow slices, ’cause this is a game
of small numbers. It’s not a game of big numbers. The most important thing,
though, is the refer… The election has to be
a referendum on Donald Trump. It’s not about policy.
It’s not about your health care plan,
your climate change plan. All those are important,
and they’re lovely, but it’s a referendum
on Donald Trump. All reelections are referendums
on the incumbent. So, then, i-if I can say this, ’cause we’re gonna have
to wrap up soon, but essentially,
what you’re saying sounds really interesting,
’cause I… I remember saying this
when I first observed -Donald Trump
during the election. -Mm-hmm. I said… And, I mean, some people treated me like
an idiot for saying it. I said on TV,
the one advantage he has -is that he’s playing TV.
-Yeah. So when he says, “Build a wall,” it translates into whatever people want to hear
about immigration. He doesn’t give you
the specifics -about H-1B visas.
-Right. That’s right. He doesn’t give you
the specifics about what immigration numbers
or policies… He just gives you ideas. Trevor, his whole policy fit
on a trucker hat. -(laughter)
-You know, he… -Right. -And…
And you’re exactly right, because what he did was play a reality TV character
for 15 years, and Americans thought,
“Oh, this guy is smart, decisive, good manager,
good leader, good negotiator.” And so he just kept playing
that role. So, do you think, then,
Democrats, maybe even… if not now, need to get better
at playing TV for when they’re running
against Trump? They absolutely…
This is a reality TV game. They need to be practicing
that game. It’s not a debating society in the democratic socialist
conference. It’s a reality TV show, and Trump is the master
of the game. They have a narrow path
to victory, and I hope
that this book helps them try to, uh, achieve
that fairly narrow path. Well, I’ll tell you this. I wish
I could disagree with you, but I agree with a lot
of what you’re saying. -Thank you so much for being
on the show. -Thank you, Trevor. -Appreciate it.
-Really great having you here. Running Against the Devil
is available now. Rick Wilson, everybody.




Comments
  1. His message here is basically: honesty, ethics, morality, principles and common decency are for losers.
    Yepp, he's still a typical repub!

  2. Ok .Enough with these Never Trumpers!!! You and your old fuckn bosses contributed to Trump getting elected in the first fuckn place !! Now you're gonna vote for the establishment candidate on the Democrat side which is pretty much the same thing …. This is truly pathetic and sickening!! Learn to let go of power!! Nobody cares about how you feel or have to say !! Trump has your party by the balls now . Go away already!!! Jeez

  3. Rick Wilson IS right…and that's sickening.
    But to think that HE sees Trump as that much of a POS…should TERRIFY anyone that sees this.

  4. republicans: the party of rapists, child molesters, DONT GIVE A FUCK, do whatever it takes. just like the rapists they defend, they are well integrated, cut throat, shameless, and they do WHATEVER IT TAKES to survive, thrive, and spread. accuse your opponent of what you're guilty of, weaponize their weaknesses, undermine and corrode their strengths. republicans fight a war, democrats are trying to reason decency with a predator. it's no wonder republicans have a disproportionate amount of power.

  5. I hate how we have become a society where most people can not talk to each other without screaming at one another, and this comment section shows that. They can’t sort out differences or achieve goals or even talk to each other as a matter of fact. And I don’t think one party is more to blame than the other but rather both share that blame.

  6. it's not hard to destroy spineless cowards rick beside trump improved the economies while the disease of the left will bitch that he just riding Obama (who I remind you retards have called a conservative to do him deport illegals) turncoat also bitch at him about ice. (which remind me that it was created during Obama time in office while the left keeps forgetting and trump is lessen it by making Mexico the walls by threating to increase the trade taxes (which I remind you he can do that) if they don't keep the illegals from South America from coming near our border.) the communism left will bitch and called me names like they always do since they are too stupid to think for themselves. (just what their democratic masters want them to be dumb so they can be easily controlled to get their votes while their slaves speak their words. (i do believe the whole world is tired of the western liberals I think the yellow vests are building a new guillotine and sharpen some spear for the president and his chamber to have their heads free from their bodies, the Californian signing a petition to the queen of shit herself Nancy Pelosi nephew from governer office if they remove him I think they don't want a democrat running that state, you also have Virginia which the people are rally to protect their second amendment from northen and his Bloomberg paid allies hell even Antifa supported gun right.) Meanwhile, the Iran regime is being bitched at by their people while nancy denied the protesters existing since she and the rest of the democrat have stock in wars while trump threatens the regime to not attack the protesters. face it democrats commies you and your masters are doomed since the world is sick of your presence.
    (you are nothing but liars, agents of chaos, a disease, a problem, communists, nazis, racist, hypocrites, biased, cultists, and tyrants who deserve no pity nor mercy only a quick death. you may not like it liberals and the few of the right here will call me harsh so what i speak in a pure logic something the liberal hate with passion since logic is something they can't do since they only think with their emotion because they will understand the right no matter how they tries they are just a worthless cult who will never handle the truth since it too hard for them to wrap their minds around it.)

  7. I hesitate to call my self republican because of what it came to represent in the eyes of pop culture politics(non- politically informed individuals).

  8. Although what he is saying is correct it doesn't mean it's right. I dont want more TV lies. I want candidates talking about what matters. It's a shame that generalization and acting is what wins.

  9. It’s oddly refreshing, really… I’d forgotten what a real Republican was like. I mean, this is it, this is how they were. Now, that said, he’s utterly insufferable, he brags about playing to win instead of having superior character and being worthy of the job. But it’s interesting to hear a Republican who would rather have a Democrat in office than Trump.

  10. He basically said that the Republican Party is nothing but a bunch of thugs.
    I agree, they are and all politicians in america are nothing more than criminals and liars.

  11. This guy is part of what's wrong…. but the biggest problem is people not staying informed or doing their own fact checking! His tactics wouldn't work on people who understand the facts.

  12. Rick Wilson is not a republican..he is just whatever Noah wants him to be…sorry about that…dude is not credible. Noah is not funny either. cheap shot Noah…sold out..eh?

  13. Republikkkans have been "Trump" since the 60's! It's been going on for 60 years! Racism doesn't change! Racism of old is the same as Racism today! Republikkkans of old are the same as republikkkans of today!

  14. YOUR RITE HE THREATENS THEM BECAUSE IT'S A CULT AND THE WAY CULT LEADERS KEEP FOLLOWERS IN LINE IS THEY THREATENING THEM !!!!

  15. Everything he said is right.. in politics u gotta do what u gotta do to win.. morals have no place in here. Its power hungry ppl who joins n then becomes more corrupted than they intended.

    Tho he should have been hired to write those last seasons of GOT! And it would have ended far better than it did

  16. This fucker reminds one that simply “not liking trump” isn’t a qualifier for extraordinary vision or decency. It isn’t exactly a high bar.
    He’s like a snake spitting “you reptile” at a lizard. Or a fart complaining that poo smells.

  17. Ummm Rick real talk your party has always been the party of awful bruh. Quick someone tell Rick the last two Republican presidents only won because they cheated, so stop acting like Republicans are smarter somehow…you just cheat period. Bernie2020!

  18. I'm a conservative and a Republican who'd never vote for these compromised cultist psychos. Being ideologically different is what makes this country great You can be ideologically different and physically different and this country, unlike many others, TRIES to guarantee the same rights. We're always trying to be a more perfect union. Trump is a direct danger this idea of being a more perfect union.

  19. Wow this is so brilliant… It has actually opened my mind to the logistics of American elections. Lol hearing how fucked up it is, doest help. But hearing how strategically manipulative it is give me hope! Ha ha now I know the "cheats" to the rules of the game!

  20. Hypocrit! The Republican Party put their people in power through gerrymandering, voter fraud, racial and religious bigotry, and false narratives funded by rich lobbyists. They have been a corruptive cult since Reagan was in office if not longer, Trump is the culmination of that corruption, and this guy needs to face the music along with the rest of the Republican Party!

  21. This guy is such a typical asshole. He acts like he is better than them, yet he still talks about how the goal to get elected is the only thing that matters, even if you break some laws. It is amazing how low of a standard this country has fallen to when it comes to political discourse and standing up for the people, and not just for your political career. Get back to reality! Politics is not just a game, it has real consequences!

  22. Abolish the parties, run on ideas only. Saying any old sh*t to win is what sociopaths do. This guy is a total scumbag.

  23. Conclusion: say what people want to hear in each city, village, corn field. People never compare to what have been said to other people in the next corn field.

  24. "It's not about policy"
    Is exactly about policy.
    Trump run on free healthcare, against Nafta, against current trade deals especially with China. Against outsourcing , against status quo and pro American what ever that means. He did everything worst , especially the healthcare and the swamp, but he run on something. Unlike Hilary who run on "Trump is bad"
    So the right choice is to chose a candidate who has the best policies. That candidate is Bernie Sanders , then Tulsi and Andrew. The others stand on nothing.

  25. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
    – Former President Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama warned Democratic primary candidates to avoid leaning too far left in their campaigns, and raised concerns that certain liberal policy proposals on health care and immigration might have gone further than public
    opinion.Obama warned that the average American voter does not align with views from “certain left-leaning Twitter feeds or the activist wing of our party.

  26. That guy is even more of a scum bag than trump is. Tricking, lying, scaremongering and gerrymandering is ok, but trump is too much? GTFO, you hypocritical POS. YOU helped kill the GOP.

  27. Holy sh*t this guy… I am sorry but dems could do to learn from this guys play book. "Democrats play to win an argument, I play to win an election." We could all learn from this mans statement. If you think we should be above it, we will lose 2020.

  28. Sick of this side picking crap..democrats and republicans are lying clowns..and if you lean hard right or left your un American in my opinion

  29. Democrats fight to help humanity, it's not a game. Republicans fight for nothing but control over people, while claiming they want less government. #Independent

  30. 5:17, "find ten things that scare the scrap out of people". Isn't that cherry picking?

    But like Trevor, I do agree with a lot of what he shared.

  31. He is 100% correct in everything he said. Get it together Dems this is a referendum against Donald Trump. Get ready for your casting call.

  32. Sadly i think this guy is righ about how to win to a certain extent. But he doesn't talk about all the other things the Republicans do to win that are just disgusting, like redrawing district lines constantly. Sadly he doesn't realize that this behavior has helped destroy the republican party and made it the rich man's multinational banking and industrial fund that it is devoid of values and morals 🙁

  33. In a functioning democracy having a small government would mean giving less power to yourself. You can only favor small government if you don't believe in democracy.

  34. A true politician. I may disagree with everything he does and believe, even dislike him. But even then, he never quite outright said anything I can call bs on.

    But his honesty in how he has acted is refreshing. Usually they just say "this is how everyone else behaved".

  35. my only question would be where he was when the tea Party movement took over the Republican party because Donald Trump didn't appear from nowhere and just took over this "host". It seems a bit to me like there is to much blame on Donald Trump and to little talk about the hotbed the Republican party created over the last few decades where someone like Donald Trump and his rhetoric could flourish. I am not calling Rick Wilson a bad person or even see him as a driving factor. But honestly, when you look back at the rhetoric particularly after Obama took office, there was major shift within the Republican party away from rational conservatism to a much more extreme version of it. They simply started pandering to the fringes of their movement and they allowed those extremist voices to slowly but steadily take over their politics. I mean seriously, what did they expect would happen? All this dog whistling and extreme rhetoric. The real issue for the Republican party here is that their traditional voters are simply disappearing. Just take a look at the demographic and who the voter base will be in the future. There are a lot more minorities now and many younger people do not see them self as Republicans. So the Republicans had really two choices here. Either change their message in becoming more moderate and also addressing minorities as voters which would have meant to tone down their rhetoric in that direction a lot. Or, go with the fringe movements, mobilising the extreme and voter bases they never really touched on before like fanatic Christians and outright racists. Well turns out they chose the later. And soon they will pay the price for it. Because populism is not a good way of running a country. Particularly not one like the United States.

  36. This is proof that people with different views can get along. There's way too much division when it comes to parties.

  37. Sorry, but I just think you're a scumbag. You're not much better than Trump.Lie, cheat and steal to get your way. You say you are for small government but you are only for government that supports are conservative values and not the entire population. You want to be in control and win without any regard to who it hurts. Now the Republican party has been eaten by its own greed. It's about time that you all see what you really are.

  38. Anyone else was thinking " What total BS" when this guy was shitting on his fellow republicans gone full trumpian zealots and then went on to explain how he and his likes created the perfect breeding ground for Trumps success over decades by lying and scheming? I pity him for not being able to self reflect and I pity the American people. I tend to think that people get what they vote for in a democracy. But really no one deserves this.

  39. This is why these people make me sick. They don't fair. They don't want to except. They want to run every thing, kill things they don't like and force people into a few molds. Kill diversity, kill the good part of our government in order to have every thing their way. Why can we not all be important to you? Why is forcing your point, is the "game."

  40. I like this guy because he’s against the Orange Menace, but then I don’t. He backed Reagan who was the spark for this new radical right wing.

  41. Rick is a liar. typical Rebuplican criminal asshole, he just hates Trump enough to say it. But he is still 100% lying asshole.

  42. He is absolutely right, all those Republicans can’t stand him but are so scared of Dirty Donny, that they pretend they have joined the cult and bought real estate in his colon so he won’t ruin their political career. Zero respect for the little GOP bitches.

  43. well said, agreed. but how? How are you going to ask Republicans to be loyal to the true Republican values? You can guess their response, already, or am I being too pessimistic.

  44. You have to remember just recently Democrats murdered Americans for political gain. If they are willing to kill hundreds of their voters for political gain, that is someone I don't want in office. Trump 2020 because democrats will literally murder you for political power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULY92d1qQGo

  45. CENTRAL POINT: defeat Donald T. without getting your hands dirty.

    It can be done.

    In this stays the Courage, the Risk and finally in this will be the Victory.

    If you win the elections playing the same card as him, that victory will not value anything from a moral point of view.

  46. I guess it must be difficult to nail a pudding to the wall in a format like this but Trevor totally let him get away with describing an MO that boils down to playing voters so that the real issues never get discussed while trying to wash his hands of the matter. Man, you can do better!

  47. In this interview and in his previous book “Everything Trump Touches Dies”, Rick Wilson does one very peculiar thing that seemingly contradicts his loathing of Donald Trump: he hates the player, but not the game. He doesn’t like Trump true enough, but then practically praises the stratagem that Trump’s administration used to gain power. Trump sells the idea of himself as a Republican without needing to abide by any Republican or conservative ideals, and that’s what Wilson doesn’t like about Trump; The Donald is pretending to be a “better” Republican to their voters than the actual conservatives in the Grand Ole Party & most really can’t tell the difference.

  48. I'm with Trevor. I agree with a lot of what he said. He's right about how to play out this table. It just happens that I hate the game and want to change it. I don't like the set-up, I don't like politics as 1v1 zero sum games. But until we manage to flip the table and put something better on it, we do have to play this one to win. Not at the expense of our ideals, but because we want ideals and policy to still matter after this year is over. We can start doing damage control once he's gone, and we need to get to that phase as quickly as we can.

  49. This guy is why average Americans hate politics. You admit that you have no principles and are completely fine with it And he basically said as advice to Dems, "Just win the game, don't worry about policy." But we care about policy. Don't forget Dems tend to be more educated, we know policy matters bc we know it matters and will effect our and our neighbors lives.

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