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It Was All a Lie summary

Stuart Stevens

How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump

4 (126 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

It Was All a Lie by Stuart Stevens offers a candid assessment of the Republican Party's failures in recent years, from the rise of the Tea Party to Trump's presidency. He argues that the Party has betrayed its principles and lost its way.

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    It Was All a Lie
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    The precedent for Trump’s coded racist language was set by the Republican Party’s favorite son, Ronald Reagan.

    Trump’s appeal to the worst, racist impulses of some white voters is nothing new in Republican politics. But Trump’s white nationalist politics, viewed by many Republicans as a unique characteristic of an unconventional president, actually have deep roots in the Republican Party. One of the most surprising precedents for Trump’s racism is Ronald Reagan, heralded by many Republicans as the shining example of everything they hold dear. As we’ll see, Reagan had a dark side – darker than many choose to admit.

    The key message here is: The precedent for Trump’s coded racist language was set by the Republican Party’s favorite son, Ronald Reagan.

    Ronald Reagan is revered by many Republicans as the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln. But many don’t know – or have chosen to ignore – that Reagan used race as a magnet to attract right-leaning Democratic voters. In the run-up to his presidency, Reagan often talked about African American “welfare queens” defrauding the government. This dog whistle, or subtle, racist message that resonates with racists but may go undetected by others, was well understood by many white voters, who threw their support behind Reagan.

    On the campaign trail in 1980, Reagan spoke in Mississippi’s Neshoba County. His rally was held just a few miles from where three civil rights volunteers were murdered in 1964. Not only did Reagan fail to mention the murders to his predominantly white audience, he said he believed in states’ rights fully. Now, this isn’t an overtly racist statement. But by promoting states’ rights in Mississippi, whose leaders used them as an excuse to fight integration as long as they could, he was sending a clear message. It was a racist appeal to white voters in Mississippi.

    There’s a direct line between Reagan’s genteel prejudice and Trump’s sputtering white nationalism. Thirty-seven years after Reagan’s speech in Neshoba County, Trump gave a speech in Alabama, a neighboring state with an equally violent history of resisting civil rights. In his speech, again to a predominantly white audience, Trump criticized NFL players for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police killings of unarmed Black men. “That’s a total disrespect of our heritage,” he said. No prizes for guessing who the ‘we’ in that statement is.

    But as we’ll explore in the next blink, Trump’s racism isn’t just an aberration. In fact, according to Stevens, it’s actually an essential element of the modern Republican Party.

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    What is It Was All a Lie about?

    It Was All A Lie (2020) is former Republican political consultant Stuart Stevens’ take on how Republican leaders, desperate for power, have mortgaged their purported values to support Donald Trump.

    It Was All a Lie Review

    It Was All a Lie (2020) by Stuart Stevens is a thought-provoking book that sheds light on the current political climate and the erosion of truth in modern American politics. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through personal experiences and insights, the author offers a unique perspective that helps readers understand the motivations behind political deceit.
    • The book provides a meticulous examination of the Republican Party, its transformation over the years, and the consequences of its actions on American democracy.
    • With its sharp analysis and engaging storytelling, the book keeps readers captivated, ensuring that the subject matter is never dull or boring.

    Who should read It Was All a Lie?

    • Americans disappointed by the Trump presidency
    • Lovers of well-crafted snark
    • Political junkies

    About the Author

    Stuart Stevens is a former Republican political consultant who has worked on countless campaigns, including four presidential races. He’s a leader of The Lincoln Project, a political action committee comprised of current or former Republicans dedicated to preventing the reelection of Donald Trump.

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    It Was All a Lie FAQs 

    What is the main message of It Was All a Lie?

    The main message of It Was All a Lie is a critical examination of the Republican party and its descent into falsehood and extremism.

    How long does it take to read It Was All a Lie?

    The reading time for It Was All a Lie varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is It Was All a Lie a good book? Is it worth reading?

    It Was All a Lie is a thought-provoking and eye-opening book that offers a critical perspective on the Republican party. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of It Was All a Lie?

    The author of It Was All a Lie is Stuart Stevens.

    What to read after It Was All a Lie?

    If you're wondering what to read next after It Was All a Lie, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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