Running Against the Devil by Rick Wilson (2020, Crown Forum)
This book is not for you, but you’ll probably like it anyway.
Rick Wilson’s latest book is a primer for all Democrat campaign workers and a cranked-to-11 wake-up call for the candidates themselves. In it, he gives a crash course on exactly how and why Democrats lose and he instructs them how to avoid charging into their usual pitfalls.
On the surface, it’s amazingly simple. He instructs the Democrats to focus exclusively on the states that are actually considered to be in play and to spend no money and almost no time in the other states during the campaign. More importantly, he tells them to focus not on the issues which will excite the loud minority of hard-left activists in their party but rather on the messages which will convince people in those fifteen in-play states that the Democrat is better than Trump.
Notice I didn’t say “issues” which will convince people. In Rick’s world, which is far more rooted in reality than the world most activists and policy wonks want to pretend exists, the messaging is what will carry the day in most cases. He tells the reader – and thus the Democrat campaign workers – what to focus on in each contested state, and begs them to listen to his advice.
The book is not as replete with bleak and angry humor as was ETTD. This is for a reason: Rick is not simply voicing his displeasure and asking the Republican party to wake the hell up; it’s far too late for that. In his mind, the Republican party is dead and he just wants to stop it from doing existential damage while waiting for a decent old-school American alternative to appear. This book is entertaining, but the focus is less on humor and more on instruction.
It’s funny, it’s engaging, and it’ll leave you hoping that the Democrats are willing to take advantage of what is, effectively, a free initial Presidential race breakdown from one of the best campaign advisers in the business. As I said before, even the rank-and-file in the phone banks and the door knockers would benefit greatly from this book because it can direct them on how best to approach potential voters. But if you’re not planning on actively campaigning for a particular Democrat, the book is of limited practical use.
Consider buying a copy (greater sales numbers will increase the likelihood that Democrats take it seriously), reading through it (it’ll maintain your interest and even provide a few insights into political campaigning) and then handing it to someone who will work on a Democrat campaign.