Republished with permission from Steve Schmidt
I’m going to show you the face of MAGA today.
This is Sean Strickland, a champion of the UFC, the fighting league run by wife-beater Dana White:
What do you see when you watch this video?
His comments are hateful, bigoted, and very disturbing. They took place in Toronto, and were made by an ignorant and snarling American, who disgraced and deeply embarrassed the United States with his misconduct and menace. His behavior was an embarrassment at a personal, professional and moral level that debased and dehumanized human beings under an oppressive ideology of violent political extremism.
What is Sean Strickland?
He is an American brown shirt, a thug, a loser and a Nazi—though he claims that his Nazi views are in his past. Like many broken people who become Nazis, Strickland is the product of abuse and psychological torture. His brutalization is the foundation of his sociopathy. He has talked at length about growing up as a white supremacist and lusting for the life of violence and hate documented in the movie “American History X.”
If the digital malice that flows so freely on Elon Musk’s X sewer could somehow be paired with the moral infants running America’s AI revolution it might achieve a perfect physical manifestation of what 1938 Munich would be like in 2024. Should a first character spring to life, dressed in brown, raging, spewing and threatening, it would certainly be Strickland.
John McCain, a devoted boxing fan, despised the MMA culture from the first moment he saw it. He called it “human cockfighting,” and thought it was immoral. He would have despised a bully like Strickland, a champion in name only without honor, decency or any dignity. He is the antithesis of a man like Muhammad Ali, who, coincidentally, would have destroyed a thug like Strickland in the ring. In fact, Ali would never have been touched by the UFC brown shirt.
Sean Strickland is a totem of our times. This is what backlash looks like, and it should not be discounted. All across America, young men, alone, angry and isolated, stare at their phones and watch Strickland’s rage spew forth. They mistake his idiocy for bravery, his venom for wisdom and his bigotry for liberty. What they see is a loser who looks like a winner on the small screen, which delivers a peculiar poison, personally targeted by algorithms that ensure most all of our young people are living in a version of the prisoner’s dilemma.
This is Trumpism, and this is very real. Watch it. Don’t turn away. This is American politics in 2024.
It isn’t accidental that when this clip aired, Alex Jones suggested that Sean Strickland would make a great VP for Trump. Donald Trump Jr. effectively threw cold water on that idea though. He said Tucker Carlson would be great.
Steve Schmidt is a political analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. He served as a political strategist for George W. Bush and the John McCain presidential campaign. Schmidt is a founder of The Lincoln Project, a group founded to campaign against former President Trump. It became the most financially successful Super-PAC in American history, raising almost $100 million to campaign against Trump's failed 2020 re-election bid. He left the group in 2021.