Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Went from the Party of Reagan to the Party of Trump

Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Went from the Party of Reagan to the Party of Trump

by Matt K. Lewis


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From a leading voice among young conservatives, an impassioned argument that to stay relevant the Republican Party must look beyond short-term electoral gains and re-commit to historic conservative values.

In 1963 Richard Hofstadter published his landmark book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Today, Matt Lewis argues, America's inclination toward simplicity and stupidity is stronger than ever, and its greatest victim is the Republican Party. Lewis, a respected conservative columnist and frequent guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe, eviscerates the phenomenon of candidates with a "no experience required" mentality and tea party "patriots" who possess bluster but few core beliefs.

Lewis traces the conservative movement's roots, from Edmund Burke to William F. Buckley, and from Goldwater's loss to Reagan's landslide victory. He highlights visionary thinkers who understood nuance and deep ideology and changed the course of the nation. As we approach the 2016 presidential election, Lewis has an urgent message for fellow conservatives: embrace wisdom, humility, qualifications, and inclusion—or face extinction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316383929
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 685,021
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor for The Daily Caller and writes regular columns for, The Daily Beast and The Telegraph (UK). He records a weekly podcast, "Matt Lewis and the News." In 2011, Business Insider listed him as one of the 50 "Pundits You Need To Pay Attention To," and in 2012 the American Conservative Union honored Matt as their CPAC "Blogger of the Year." He lives with his family in Alexandria, VA.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Introduction xxi

Part 1 The Great Thinkers Who Invented Conservatism

1 A History of Brilliant Conservation 8

2 Ronald Reagan: A Student and a Star 27

3 Tear Down This Party! 45

Part 2 The Great Betrayal

4 How the GOP Went South 63

5 Living on a Prayer 77

6 Surrendering the Culture 93

Part 3 What a Mess

7 Too Smart to Win 107

8 Meet the Vultures 133

9 The Conservative Echo Chamber 147

Part 4 How to Fix It

10 Acceptance 163

11 Modernize, Don't Moderate 171

12 What Can I Do? 193

Afterword 217

Acknowledgments 227

Notes 229

What People are Saying About This

Peggy Noonan

I've been reading Matt for a long time. He's always incisive and thoughtful and this book is both. Anyone who cares about the future of the Republican party should read it. --Peggy Noonan

Kirsten Powers

Matt K. Lewis is one of the sharpest and most principled political commentators of our day. Too Dumb to Fail is a lively and fascinating read for any person confounded by the state of today's Republican Party. Lewis provides some much-needed tough love as well as a clear way forward for the GOP. If Republicans are smart, they'll make this book mandatory reading. --Kirsten Powers, New York Times-bestselling author of The Silencing

Joe Scarborough

Matt K. Lewis has written an insightful book about the roots of the conservative movement—and just how far Washington Republicans have diverged from that proud past. Too Dumb to Fail is a major achievement from one of conservatism's most important voices, and it could not come at a more critical time. --Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe

Arthur C. Brooks

Too Dumb to Fail traces the evolution of conservative philosophy from Aristotle to Burke to the present in a clear and readable way that reminds us why conservatives need big ideas—and why America needs conservatism. --Arthur C. Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute

Hugh Hewitt

Very few books about politics get my 'must read' stamp, but Matt Lewis' Too Dumb to Fail is one of them. Every conservative feeling as though the movement has collapsed, every a Republican despairing of every winning the White House, every independent who has no idea what to do or whom to support, should read this book immediately. --Hugh Hewitt, host of The Hugh Hewitt Show

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