The Ezra Klein Show: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Trump Enabler

New York Times Opinion New York Times Opinion 10/25/22 - Episode Page

​​“What would you do for your relevance?” the political journalist Mark Leibovich asks in his new book, “Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump’s Washington and the Price of Submission....” “How badly did you want into the clubhouse, no matter how wretched it became inside?” For Leibovich, you can’t truly understand the current Republican Party without taking stock of the almost Shakespearean drama that unfolded during the Trump presidency — in which Republican after Republican bowed to the will of their ascendant party leader.

Through his extensive — and often quite colorful — reporting with Trump’s inner circle of enablers, Leibovich tries to understand the motivations that fueled Trump’s takeover of the G.O.P. But this conversation isn’t only important in retrospect. With the Republican Party poised to possibly recapture at least one house of Congress in November, many of Trump’s core enablers could soon hold considerable political power. Who are they? What do they believe? How will they act if given power?

We discuss why the stakes in 2022 midterms feel higher than ever, why the Republican Party has changed so profoundly since the days of Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, how the governing structure of the G.O.P. fell apart as Trump rose in influence, the many reasons politicians from Lindsey Graham to Elise Stefanik converted from Trump skeptics to staunch Trump defenders, the political motivations of Kevin McCarthy — who may become the next speaker of the House — and how he might wield power, how the persistence of Trumpism could profoundly alter American democracy, why Leibovich believes figures like J.D. Vance prostrated themselves to a man who insulted them, what options Democrats have for countering election denialism and more.


“Donald Trump Is Not Going Anywhere” by Mark Leibovich

Book recommendations:

Why We Did It by Tim Miller

Confidence Man by Maggie Haberman

NSFW by Isabel Kaplan

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at />
“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld, Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

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