Goldberg’s belief that the Republicans are lost has a villain. He worked for George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992, and his phone calls incurred enough gratitude to earn a seat on the board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. But he never got along with their son’s political guru, Karl Rove, who he believes “destroyed the Bush family.” (Goldberg describes George W. Bush as “mentally challenged.”) Rove, in Goldberg’s view, pulled the party toward a clinical, hard-right economic conservatism and foreign policy adventurism, and away from the more practical, visceral appeals Goldberg used to deliver on the phone. Rove was ruthless toward rival consultants: He blacklisted his old Texas rival, McCain adviser John Weaver, who was a Goldberg ally, and Goldberg — who had run into financial problems and lost his business in the late 1990s — found it hard to work in the Bush years.
Here in 2016, Goldberg admires Donald Trump’s core proposition: “His scenario is that the silent majority is angry, powerful, and ready to rumble.”
But he doesn’t think the Republican Party is capable of delivering on it.
“The whole culture of the RNC right now is hiding behind algorithms, hiding behind apps, and not interacting with people,” he said.
“They’re primitive. Not so much in terms of the apps, the algorithm — sure, they’re selling their fucking snake oil, okay, but they’re primitive in how they use it and they’re lazy,” he said. “Because Republicans have no clue how to maintain the relationship with the voter. How to create and to cultivate one. And they think that you do an app and they check the box or do the roll call, you check the box, and now, OK, I’ve now campaigned.”