An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics

Greg Sargent. Custom House, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-269845-2
Donald Trump’s presidency is the culmination of pathological tendencies in American—mainly Republican—politics, according to this furious broadside. Likening politics during the “Trumpocalypse” to Mad Max’s caged death duel, journalist Sargent, who writes the Plum Line blog at the Washington Post, delves into political science studies to diagnose America’s governmental dysfunctions. These include the gerrymandering of electoral districts to inflate Republican congressional representation; “voter suppression” laws that disadvantage Democratic voters (Texas’s voter ID law accepted gun licenses but not state and federal employee IDs); “constitutional hardball” tactics such as government shutdowns and judicial filibusters; and the torrent of fake news, lies, and calumnies emanating from presidential tweets, Russian social media bots, and the right-wing media echo chamber. (Democrats sometimes commit these sins, the author allows, but he insists Republican “villainy” in “entrenching minority rule” is far worse.) Sargent’s avowed pro-Democratic tilt and untrammeled invective—Trump is a “madman president” who is “supercharging” our “political degradation” with his “racism, nativism, ethnonationalism, and misogyny”—sometimes resemble the vitriolic partisanship he deplores on the Republican side. Fortunately, in more reflective moods he manages a probing, sophisticated, very readable discussion of constitutional flaws and economic and ideological antagonisms, one that will give readers a deeper understanding of America’s political rot. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/10/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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