cover image This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future

This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future

Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns. Simon & Schuster, $29.99 (468p) ISBN 978-1-982172-48-0

New York Times reporters Martin and Burns debut with an impressively sourced and consistently revealing chronicle of America’s “political emergency” in the months between the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the start of President Biden’s second year in office. To an unusual degree for books covering similar subject matter, the authors get lawmakers, congressional staffers, and campaign operatives from both parties on the record. What emerges is a clear-eyed and often dramatic portrait of two major political parties animated as much by internal divisions as by cross-aisle discord. During the January 6 Capitol insurrection, the authors reveal, the loudest voice demanding President Trump’s impeachment was Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney; meanwhile, her Senate colleague Ted Cruz was rallying other hard-liners to continue opposing certification of the 2020 election, despite the day’s violence. On the Democratic side, the authors spotlight how the tenuous détente between progressives and centrists that helped bring Biden to the White House broke down almost as soon as he took office, dooming his Build Back Better bill and complicating his dynamic with Vice President Kamala Harris. Revelations abound—of Kevin McCarthy’s initial plan to call on Trump to resign after the Capitol riot; of Republican efforts to lure Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema into switching parties—as do sharp character sketches. Politics junkies should consider this required reading. (May)