Republic of Wrath: How American Politics Turned Tribal, from George Washington to Donald Trump

James A. Morone. Basic, $32 (432p) ISBN 978-0-465-00244-3
Political scientist Morone (The Devils We Know) surveys more than 200 years of partisan discord in this incisive and well-researched history. Though immigration and race have been flash points since the first contested election in 1800, Morone writes, today’s disagreements over “who votes and how easily” have reached an unprecedented ferocity due to party realignment; Democrats now represent “all the so-called minorities” and their liberal supporters, while “white, native males” lean Republican. Sketching the evolution of the major parties through the 19th and 20th centuries, Monroe pinpoints Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964, which paved the way for landmark civil rights legislation, as the genesis of today’s “fierce tribal politics.” Resentment over minority progress broke up the coalition of Southern Democrats and Northern liberals that had been the backbone of New Deal and Great Society reforms, Monroe contends, and transformed the Republicans into the party of “small government, moral values, states’ rights, and racial backlash.” Monroe marshals a vast amount of information into a brisk, accessible narrative, and draws illuminating contrasts between past and present, spotlighting, for instance, stark differences between the politics of Democratic presidential candidates Harry Truman and Hillary Clinton. This nuanced and richly detailed account offers essential perspective ahead of the 2020 election. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/06/2020
Release date: 09/08/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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