cover image "Frankly, We Did Win This Election": The Inside Story of How Trump Lost

"Frankly, We Did Win This Election": The Inside Story of How Trump Lost

Michael C. Bender. Twelve, $30 (432p) ISBN 978-1-5387-3480-3

Wall Street Journal reporter Bender debuts with an immersive, blow-by-blow rundown of Donald Trump%E2%80%99s failed reelection campaign. Interweaving fly-on-the-wall accounts of White House meetings with profiles of "Front Row Joes" who traveled across the country to attend Trump rallies, Bender covers the period from Trump%E2%80%99s first impeachment in December 2019 through his second acquittal in February 2021. Along the way, Bender sheds light on internal rivalries over the response to the coronavirus pandemic, documents how cavalier attitudes toward health and safety measures helped spread Covid-19 in the White House, delivers pointed assessments of administration members including Mike Pence ("it was sometimes difficult to tell... where his loyalty ended and his subservience began"), and notes the near-constant flow of leaked information to the press. Throughout, he paints a credible portrait of how a lack of coordination and Trump%E2%80%99s own preference for "chaos as an operating principle" doomed the reelection bid. Though the analysis often feels rote, Bender%E2%80%99s insider access impresses, and he enriches the narrative with a sharp sense of humor, describing Trump%E2%80%99s first debate performance against Joe Biden as a "hurricane of assholery." Political junkies will gobble this one up. (July)