November 12, 2020

I thought this conversation was notable more for what it didn't say. Stephanie Ruhle and Steve Schmidt are talking about Republicans being afraid of Trump, but they don't dig into the weeds -- which is, they are literally afraid of being killed by Trump's rabid minions! They are afraid, not just for their jobs, but for their lives. And no one talks about it. That's what people like Jim Clyburn mean when they say Trump's behavior is like Hitler's during his rise to power: Brownshirts. People like this.

"This is what I do not get. They say they're afraid of Trump because he's so powerful. But no one made that argument about Hillary Clinton in 2016. She won more than 65 million votes. Trump won more than 70 million votes. How is he a kingmaker and she was a loser?" Ruhle asked.

"Because Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee. She was the head of a political party. Trump is the head of a cult of personality. They are very different things. In 2016, the Democratic party had a platform that talked about the issues and policies that the party would stand for. In 2020, there was no Republican platform," Schmidt said.

"It was an oath of obedience and loyalty to Donald Trump. And so what this is fundamentally about is the Georgia special elections, because they are terrified that Trump will take retribution and basically say 'screw you' to Mitch McConnell and to the Senate majority. So even Senator Lankford, who on the one hand is being modestly responsible, I suppose, by saying the president-elect should have intelligence briefings -- not a very high bar to step over, but then he says, well, whatever the result of the election may be. We know the results of the election. Joe Biden has won a commanding victory, the largest since FDR's in 1932."

Ruhle asked why Republicans needed Trump -- "a big loser" -- to win in Georgia.

"He's a loser, but he's a loser who got about 70 million votes," Schmidt said.

He talked about how the GOP "sold their soul to the devil" and predicted with a new media company, Trump would be around for a long time.

"And every day, for the next years, Trump is going to act like he's going to be a candidate in 2024. And that's just the reality of it. Donald Trump intends to keep his grip on the Republican party, and Republicans are going to have to figure out how to deal with it. He's going to continue to tweet. He's going to continue to drive the information flow across the vast propaganda networks that have supported and surrounded him. He'll be a tremendously pernicious force in this country for a long time to come."

Ruhle asked, "Couldn't this be an opportunity for the Republican party to say, let's be moderate again?"

(HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one, Stephanie!)

"They're not going to because they remain terrified of him. And they need that Trump voter, so they believe, for example, in the Georgia special election," Schmidt replied.

"So we have four senators, to their credit, who have acknowledged reality. Right? But no senators at this moment have taken to the floor of the Senate to decry the illiberalism of this. The undemocratic nature of this. You know, at the end of the day, it is cuckoo, but the party has been cuckoo for years and it's going to get more cuckoo. There are more Qanon members in the Republican conference in the House of Representatives than there are minorities.

"And the party is going to get more cuckoo over the next four years, right? The election result has nothing to do with making the Republican party less cuckoo. It had everything to do with making the country less cuckoo because the cuckoo people are no longer going to be running the country. They're done. They're out. They won't be in charge January 20th. but of course they're still here and you see that playing out every day.

"You'll see that play out every day for years."

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