On Friday night, Never Trump leader of the Lincoln Project Steve Schmidt wrote an embarrassing love letter to open democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), asking her to ally with him against the “other side,” ostensibly the 90-plus percent of the Republican Party that supported President Donald Trump, whom Schmidt demonized in the harshest of terms.
“I would like to officially reach out to [AOC] on behalf of the [Lincoln Project]
in defense of democracy,” Schmidt began in a long Twitter thread. “We disagree on many issues and that is ok in our view. Btw, we don’t look down on waitresses. We admire them. We are all the types of guys who always tip at 50% or more.”
“I have an idea. Let’s approach each other and our points of view with good faith. We say the following with respect and seriousness Ma’am. Our hand is open and we need to work together or we are going to lose America,” Schmidt wrote. “We will not yield and we will never break. We are the side opposed to autocracy.”
Schmidt described Never Trumpers and AOC as “the left and right flanks of a broad coalition. Should we buckle, they will win. We must not. We are together. We pledge to listen. We pledge to learn. We pledge to be open to your ideas and we pledge to compromise. We have no such offer for the other side.”
Who is this “other side”? Schmidt declared, “We have no open hand for the nationalists, white nationalists, fascist proud boys, militia groups, conspiracy theorists ect [sic]. Our proposition is we win- you lose. There is no accommodation. It is zero sum.”
The Never Trumper went on to praise AOC in the highest of terms. “We all admire your coviction, Integrity and guts. We say the following with respect. Maybe it is the case that we are stronger together. I wish you a merry Christmas and all of your supporters a happy holiday season. We admire your conviction. You are a living example of democracy and the importance of faith and belief in the system,” he wrote.
“We are one election away from losing this country to Autocrats. We stand with you against that. We hope you will stand with us also. God bless America,” Schmidt concluded.
It seems Schmidt decided to take this stance in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to challenge the 2020 presidential election results. His rhetoric about defending “democracy” from “autocrats” seems a clear rebuke for the Republicans who are concerned about election irregularities, reports of fraud, and interventions from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which poured millions into voting operations in blue areas and which likely tilted the election toward Joe Biden.
In defining these “autocrats,” Schmidt included “nationalists,” the Proud Boys, and “conspiracy theorists” along with “white nationalists” in an attempt to brand various segments of the Right as racist. This also represented a subtle reference to Trump and his supporters, since Trump briefly addressed the Proud Boys during the first presidential debate with Joe Biden.
Yet the white nationalists and Proud Boys are small, isolated groups in America. Republicans rightly condemn and ostracize white nationalists, and most look askance at the Proud Boys. These groups are not able to become “autocrats” and they lack the ability to win elections. Make no mistake: Schmidt was attempting to brand the majority of the Republican Party and voters who supported Trump with these terms.
While Americans should strive for mutual understanding and compromise across political divides, Schmidt’s outreach to AOC is less at attempt at bringing Republicans and Democrats together and more an attempt to demonize any conservatives who supported Trump.
Americans who vehemently disagree with one another should nevertheless find reasons to praise each other and work together to solve important problems. In that vein, it makes sense to praise AOC’s determination and her charisma. Yet AOC’s radicalism represents a true threat to America’s prosperity and her Green New Deal would wreck the country in the name of a climate catastrphe that stubbornly refuses to occur even though alarmists have been predicting it for decades.
Conservatives see through Schmidt’s false rhetoric. The Republican Party may change after Trump leaves office, but it will not embrace his noxious sermonizing.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.