Running Against the Devil

A Plot to Save America from Trump - and Democrats from Themselves
Narrated by: Rick Wilson
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
5 out of 5 stars (844 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller!

The longtime Republican strategist and number-one New York Times best-selling author of Everything Trump Touches Dies is back with a guidebook for beating Trump’s tricks, traps, and Twitter feed in 2020.

“If you believe America’s future depends on Donald Trump’s political machine being crushed at the polls next year, then Rick Wilson’s Running Against the Devil is a must-read.” (Joe Scarborough, MSNBC)

Donald Trump is exactly the disaster we feared for America. Hated by a majority of Americans, Trump’s administration is rocked by daily scandals, and he’s embarrassed us at home and abroad. 

Trump can’t win in 2020, right? 

Wrong. As 2016 proved, Trump can’t win, but the Democrats can sure as hell lose. Only one thing can save Trump, and that’s a Democratic candidate who runs the race Trump wants them to run instead of the campaign they must run to win in 2020. 

Wilson combines decades of national political experience and insight in his take-no-prisoners analysis, hammering Trump’s destructive and dangerous first term in a case-by-case takedown of the worst president in history and describing the terrifying prospect of four more years of Trump. 

Like no one else can, Wilson blows the lid off Trump’s 2020 Republican war machine, showing the exact strategies and tactics they’ll use against the Democratic nominee...and how the Democrats can avoid the catastrophe waiting for them if they fall into Trump’s trap. 

Running Against the Devil is sharply funny, brutally honest, and infused with his biting commentary. It’s a vital indictment of Trump, a no-nonsense, no-holds-barred road map to saving America, and the guide to making Donald Trump a one-term president. 

The stakes are too high to do anything less.

©2020 Rick Wilson (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Rick Wilson is one of the best political strategists of our times. He knows the calculus of how to win better than a mathematician. This book is going to give some old-school Democrats a little heartburn. But if we want to win in 2020, Wilson’s analysis is a full stop. Period. Read and get to work.” (Donna Brazile, former interim chair, Democratic National Committee)

“‘Florida Man Chooses Country over Party!’ It appears that the Democratic Party’s 2020 election briefing book has been written by a lifelong Republican strategist, and you’re looking at it.” (Brian Williams, MSNBC)

“No one understands the nature of Trumpism better than Rick Wilson. He also knows how the Democrats can blow this election. This may be a hard book for some of them to read, but it is a message they absolutely need to hear if they want to beat Donald Trump. In this passionate, witty, insightful, and often hilarious book, Wilson brings tough love and sharp elbows to his urgent warning about the difficulty of defeating a man with no bottom, no shame, and no limits.” (Charles Sykes, author of How the Right Lost Its Mind)

What members say

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unsubtle, uneven, and I couldn't stop listening

If you read Rick Wilson's first book, Everything Trump Touches Dies, you already have a good idea of what to expect with this one: uncompromising political commentary, repetitive and sometimes grating insult comedy, and some fascinating insight into electoral strategy and persuasive messaging.

Rick is at his best when he focuses on things he knows well: How to calibrate messaging to reach the right political audience, electoral pitfalls to avoid, and the science and strategy of political advertising. If Rick wrote a book on how to design the perfect political ad, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. He argues persuasively in this book how the Democrats should take on Trump, and lays out a convincing plan that had me nodding along in spite of my more progressive politics. It's excellent inside baseball analysis from a guy who's helped his clients win a lot of close elections, and worth the price of admission.

Rick is at his worst when he's trying to be funny via insults. The joke bits between sections where he writes tweets from Trump's possible second term and a dialog between Trumpian focus group participants are awkward rather than humorous, and work better as horror than comedy (maybe that was the point?). Rick is fluent in enough pop culture and internet meme references that he can be engaging, but I don't think his gags are clever enough to achieve the laughs he's going for. These humor flails don't derail the book, but I seriously considered skipping forward 30 seconds at these points.

The last problem I had with this book is that Rick often falls into the trap of repeating himself rather than explaining. We get it Rick, you think Bernie Sanders is a communist, Democrats are awful at state-specific politics, and woke culture is the ruin of the Donkey party. Repeating warnings makes some sense (e.g. The Electoral College is all that matters), but Rick's lack of empathy for the tens of millions of people who live in big cities and favor progressive politics means that he doesn't spill a lot of ink on how people who believe these things on the left can make an argument for them. To Rick, it's just not worth the discussion, other than to tell you it's a waste of time and a sure loser. Then again, he's been a diehard conservative for about as long as I've been alive, so I guess this might be asking too much.

All told, I blazed through this book and felt passionate enough about it to write a review. Easy to recommend for anyone interested in the crazy politics of 2020.

23 people found this helpful

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Must Read!

This is a must read for every Democratic candidate, for every Democratic advisor, and most of all, for everyone who gives a shit. These next 9 months are going to be a really tough slog. What's on the line is our "Republic, if you can keep it". My reference is, of course, from Benjamin Franklin. He was right and this 2020 election is the pucker moment, the fish or cut bait moment. Thank you Rick!

22 people found this helpful

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Rick Wilson Delivers - AGAIN

Just like in his book "Everything Trump Touches Dies", Rick Wilson brings his perspective with his usual hilarious digs at people I REALLY dislike, with his extensive vocabulary and ability to use it to make the point in creative ways. He never fails to make me laugh while simultaneously scaring the sh*t out of me. This book should be required reading TODAY for the democratic candidates who are running in 2020. This book helps me see the mistakes the candidates (including my own) are making. I can't wait until his next book.

9 people found this helpful

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  • 01-17-20

You all need to get this book

Read this & gift it to your parents & grandparents NOW
PARTICULARLY IF THEY LIVE IN A SWING STATE 🚨
If you’re a campaign manager or strategist for a Democratic presidential candidate, I hope you heed this advice

The only rule is this:

Win the Electoral College ✅

It's not *a* rule, it's the *only* rule

Win . the . swing . states .

It won’t matter if 100% turnout for Bernie in California if they only turnout 30% in Florida

Sometimes there’s a difference between what we want & what we need; sometimes we don’t want to hear the hard truth, but we still need to listen

Vote someone who can win swing states or we’ll have 4 more years of the Devil unleashed. SAVE THE REPUBLIC FIRST. There’s only one way to win in 2020 & it’s all spelled out in this book

16 people found this helpful

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Exceeded my Expectations

I have a love/hate relationship with the author but I can say that I was honestly surprised by the content of this book. I finished the book in one sitting. I could not put it down. I wholeheartedly agree with his Bernie assessment. I am also very happy that they fired up The Lincoln Project in sync with this.

Personally, it would be better if there was a true conservative running right now. Bloomberg is probably the closest thing to a a true conservative in the race. The biggest concern is that Dems go too far to the left and lose the middle. As a registered Independent, I want to see more centrist ideas and less ideology.

That said, I would agree that Drumpf absolutely needs to be jettisoned. Not just for our Democracy, but for the ability for the democratic experiment to flourish and bring its benefits to a world leaning toward authoritarians and dictators. We need to be a shining city on a hill once again and celebrate our common humanity and get rid of the vulgar, divisive , orange man-child that is pooping all over the rule of law.

16 people found this helpful

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A Republican helping the Democrats... ?

Thought out the book I couldn’t help but wonder what’s in it for him. I think he’s giving instructions for how to lose the race for the Democrats. I just couldn’t bring myself to trust Rick. There’s an underlining tone that feels deceiving.

7 people found this helpful

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How to beat Trump

I reread Rick’s first book, chuckling to myself. This book is different, well done, but not the humorous, well told tale of the tragic-comedy that Trump and the deplorables have visited on the world. It is great book re planning to beat Trump.

7 people found this helpful

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An 8 hour pamphlet for campaign strategists.

Rather than send a pamphlet or briefing to the DNC, Mr. Wilson decided to write an entire book. The observations are admittedly and starkly redundant, the condescension worn as a badge of pride. There is useful information in here for a campaign strategist. There is also a dark and cynical view of the American populace - likely accurate, but depressing in its sweeping scope. The reader is left with two impressions: there are a ton of Americans who want to “do the right thing,” but need to be seduced and coddled in order to do so. Also, and related, the nation in 2020 is likely to get the president it deserves.

6 people found this helpful

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I needed to hear this

This book sold me on why liberals have such a hard time winning in rural/middle America. It’s so obvious in hindsight now. A must read for millennial libs!

12 people found this helpful

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Reality check for those living in the social media world

Clear eyed view of the 2020 U.S. election landscape. Some will call it cynical but the case isn’t laid out solely based on an opinion, but in experience and factual polling data. I hope someone running in the primary can pry their head out from their a** long enough to take a listen and take the advice to heart.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Henrik
  • 01-31-20

Rich Wilson at his best - crude, honest and witty

if you follow the trump soap show this is a must read/listen. very engaging and educating

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-28-20

Incredibly important but some logic is flawed

Great points, very important, but a few too many contradictions in what he says to give more than 4

1 person found this helpful

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  • Greta Evans
  • 01-21-20

Straight talking, hard hitting but much needed

I think after reading Rick Wilson's straight talking, no messing about message to all those running in the 2020 election against Donald Trump, I highly recommend this to everyone. I'm no Donald Trump fan, I'm not even from the USA, but I've watched intently over the last 3 plus years of Trump's presidency with shear shock, disgust, astonishment and I think I would class myself a democrat if I was eligible to vote blue. I know that this would be hard hitting for some candidates but I truly believe what is said here is the damn straight truth! Brutal truth. You cannot ignore this. You need to hear it. Rick says it best, it's the electoral college you need to win, you can't shame trump, you have to hit him where it hurts...his ego. You have to fight. America, I fear where you will be with 4 more years of trump. Rick also tells you what that will look like and I genuinely can see it! So if you read one book, just one, make it this one! I think to stay the United States of America, that beacon of shining light, that we all know and love, it's absolutely necessary. Excellent job Rick Wilson! Good luck America.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ian
  • 02-17-20

A Must Read....for all Parties

Wow. This is is a riveting pull no punches book by a master strategist and story teller. I was enthralled, and horrified, from start to finish. Message for our Dear Democrats: buy it, read it, learn it, do it. This is not another "Trump is a Jerk" book, because we all know he is. This is a "How to Get Rid of this Jerk or Else" manual. Great writing, great pace and terrifically narrated.

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  • Steve Johnson
  • 01-25-20

Sensational

Rick Wilson knows his shit. This is a great audiobook mapping out what the Dems need to do to beat Tangerine Benito, Donald Trump.