Politics

NeverTrump Strategist Laying Ground Work For New Conservative Party

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer

Never Trump has plans to transform itself from a protest movement into a new political party.

At least so says Republican strategist Rick Wilson on the latest episode of “The Jamie Weinstein Show” podcast.

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Show Map

    • On how Trump won the primary (4:57)
    • Wilson discusses meeting Trump and Hillary (11:19)
    • On the importance of the the Alt-Right to Donald Trump’s campaign (20:00)
    • On Evan McMullin’s long shot path to the presidency (26:24)
    • Wilson says more anti-Trump oppo coming (28:32)
    • How Trump has killed the GOP (30:47)
    • Wilson’s plans for a new conservative party (35:45)
    • Did NeverTrump reach out to The Rock to run for president? (43:10)
    • How to become a great campaign strategist (43:41)
    • Wilson on his influences (51:32)

Wilson, who is senior advisor to Evan McMullin’s independent presidential run, believes Donald Trump and his allies have “repulsed so many Americans” this election cycle that they have set in motion the death of the GOP.

“I’ve worked in Republican politics since 1988, I’ve done elections and won elections all over this country, and I have to tell you, I don’t see how the currently constituted national party survives the collapse,” Wilson explained, speaking of what he sees as Trump’s likely loss in November. “They’re going to get their tails handed to them just in a catastrophic scenario. Their fundraisers have all gone into the tall grass and a lot of these guys were never the hard-right, you know, Breitbart reader-style fundraisers. A lot of the guys that powered the machine were centrist Republicans, were center-right people, not ‘kill all the Muslims and build a giant wall’ people.”

The Republican Party, in his view, has “lost the ability to communicate with” certain demographic groups that are crucial “if you’re going to think about running a national party,” like “Hispanics, African Americans, women, college educated voters, mammals.”

“I mean, they’ve really done a number on the Republican coalition,” he went on. “You’re left now with high school educated white dudes who tend to be, you know, I’d say the median age right now is probably about 60. So you’ve basically got a narrow little coalition left.”

While he thinks the “Republican Party in the states, in the House” might be able to “putter on” for a little bit longer, he believes the GOP’s days are ultimately numbered.

“There will be a point where the inability to communicate and to articulate a message to these other groups that Trump has burned so badly for us, no amount of autopsy reports are going to suffice to fix it,” he said.

Asked whether there is a framework in place to start a new conservative party, Wilson answered, “yes,” though he didn’t elaborate on what other figures and fundraisers are involved in the project.

“We think there’s a place in this country for a strong, smart, center-right party that is unbound by some of the legacy code built into the GOP right now because you can’t go out and win national elections if you are a party that looks like, you know, Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump and Sean Hannity,” he said. “You’re not going to be a party that goes out and plays ball at the national level and gets more than one percent of the vote from African Americans.”

Asked how this new conservative party would be different from the Republican Party, Wilson said, “Part of it is going to be that the very cosy relationships and system that’s built up here in D.C. for a long time, where Republicans play within a narrow sort of crony capitalist lane, some of that’s going to have to get dismantled.”

“[A] lot of the difference is going to be tone and affect and how you relate to people,” Wilson later added, saying he hoped this new party will field a presidential candidate in 2020.

Wilson also criticized elements of the conservative movement, citing the fight over the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill as an example of how it has failed itself and the country.

“When the Gang of Eight comes up, when an immigration reform bill comes up, we have an entire right wing media structure right now that does nothing but burn everyone around it into the ground,” he said. “You know what I love? Breitbart is going to beg on their hands and knees, Matt Boyle will crawl across broken glass and lick up a bowl of dog crap to get the Gang of Eight back if Hillary Clinton becomes president and Chuck Schumer is majority leader.”

“They will kill the good for the fantasy of the best. These are the guys that say, ‘I only date supermodels,'” he joked. “It’s the three hundred pound guy behind his computer, ‘I only date supermodel, I only date hard tens.’ And, unfortunately, they therefore get nothing.”

Asked what politicians he would like to lead the new party he is looking to create, Wilson named politicians like McMullin, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, and conservative thinkers like Avik Roy and Arthur Brooks.

Listen to past episodes of “The Jamie Weinstein Show” and subscribe to it in iTunes:

Jack Abramoff on why Hillary Clinton’s Corruption  

Grover Norquist On Trump, NeverTrumpers And Meeting George Soros 

Matt Lewis On How He Went From Flipping Burgers To CNN

Roger Stone On What Donald Trump Learned From Roy Cohn

Former Israeli Amb. Michael Oren On Trump, Clinton, American Leadership And His Future Ambitions

Karl Rove On The State Of The Race, Getting Under Hillary’s Skin And What Happens To The GOP After Trump

Alan Dershowitz On 2016, Knowing Trump And Hillary, And Going From Academic Failure To Legal All Star 

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