OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts with notable figures in and around the tech industry.
This week, Kantrowitz sits down with Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the Lincoln Project. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
When Steve Schmidt was a senior advisor on John McCain’s campaign in 2008, Twitter was a curiosity. Now, he and a number of former Republican establishment members are using social media deftly to make the case against President Trump with the Lincoln Project. Their anti-Trump ads seem to go viral at least once a week, and may indeed influence the outcome of the election. Schmidt, a Lincoln Project co-founder, joins the Big Technology Podcast to discuss the evolution of the Republican Party since the McCain days, and how social media is changing politics.
You were a top advisor on John McCain’s 2008 campaign. No matter what people say about John McCain, almost everyone agrees he was a decent man. What’s happened to the Republican Party since then?
The Republican party is in a state of moral, intellectual, and spiritual collapse right now. There’s not even a pretense that it stands for issues and you can evidence that by looking at the platform. And what the platform of the party says, ratified at the convention this summer, in essence confirms that the party is a cult of personality where to be in good standing requires obedience and loyalty to Donald Trump. And so what the party’s become in essence is an organized conspiracy to maintain political power for the advancement of the self-interest of the elected officials and the donor class that supports them.
It’s devoid of any principles, whether it’s the nutty pastors, the frauds, the money changers in the temple if you will, the Billy Graham Jrs., the Jerry Falwell Jrs., crazy Pastor Paul, the Joel Osteens of the world, these are the people that occupy a religiosity…