News & Politics

Steve Schmidt Is a Democrat Now, After Years Spent Shaming Republicans Over Trump

AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File

It’s official: Longtime Republican strategist Steve Schmidt is a Democrat. He told “Battleground” podcast co-host David Plouffe Monday night that he’ll change his party affiliation.

“In America today,” he told former Barack Obama campaign manager Plouffe, “it’s only the Democratic Party—which is the oldest political party in the world — that stands for the ideas and ideals of American liberty.”

I’m curious which parts of American liberty Schmidt is referring to here: The COVID-excused war on small business, abridging free speech, shutting down churches, seizing firearms…

Well, you get the idea.

Schmidt left the GOP in 2018 to become an independent, and founded the nasty NeverTrump “Lincoln Project” that year to rake in millions from gullible Democrats.

Also that year, Schmidt claimed President Donald Trump had “blood on his hands” for moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He has had less to say about Trump successfully brokering the Abraham Accords, a series of agreements officially creating peace for the first time since 1947 between Israel and a growing number of Arab nations.

Schmidt has enjoyed a long career in Republican electoral politics. He ran day-to-day operations for John McCain’s failed presidential effort in 2008, served as communications director for Lamar Alexander’s failed presidential primary bid in 1999, directed communications for Matt Fong’s failed California Senate race in 1998, and that same year headed up Tim Leslie’s failed attempt to become Lt. Governor of California. In 1995, Schmidt managed the failed campaign of Will Scott for Kentucky attorney general.

In the mid-2000s, Schmidt worked for then-Vice President Dick Cheney and later for President Bush’s election effort with Karl Rove. Schmidt directed White House strategy for the SCOTUS nominations of Samual Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. He left the Bush White House in 2006 to direct Arnold Schwarzenegger’s re-election as Governor of California.

In short, with the exception of Alito, Schmidt was most successful when working for exactly the kinds of Establishment swamp creature Republicans that millions of GOP voters would reject by making Trump their party standard-bearer — twice.

Nevertheless, Schmidt lobbied for a senior position in Trump’s 2016 campaign but “failed to get the gig because Trump thought he was a ‘total idiot’.”

Everything else Schmidt has done since then — including the Lincoln Project’s retroactive endorsement of Barack Obama back in August — has had the flavor of increasingly sour grapes.

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