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American carnage : on the front lines of the Republican civil war and the rise of President Trump

by Alberta, Tim,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 16 Libraries 20 of 28 copies
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Summary

New York Times' Top Books of 2019

New York Times Bestseller

Politico Magazine's chief political correspondent provides a rollicking insider's look at the making of the modern Republican Party--how a decade of cultural upheaval, populist outrage, and ideological warfare made the GOP vulnerable to a hostile takeover from the unlikeliest of insurgents: Donald J. Trump.



The 2016 election was a watershed for the United States. But, as Tim Alberta explains in American Carnage, to understand Trump's victory is to view him not as the creator of this era of polarization and bruising partisanship, but rather as its most manifest consequence.

American Carnage is the story of a president's rise based on a country's evolution and a party's collapse. As George W. Bush left office with record-low approval ratings and Barack Obama led a Democratic takeover of Washington, Republicans faced a moment of reckoning: They had no vision, no generation of new leaders, and no energy in the party's base. Yet Obama's forceful pursuit of his progressive agenda, coupled with the nation's rapidly changing societal and demographic identity, lit a fire under the right, returning Republicans to power and inviting a bloody struggle for the party's identity in the post-Bush era. The factions that emerged--one led by absolutists like Jim Jordan and Ted Cruz, the other led by pragmatists like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell--engaged in a series of devastating internecine clashes and attempted coups for control. With the GOP's internal fissures rendering it legislatively impotent, and that impotence fueling a growing resentment toward the political class and its institutions, the stage was set for an outsider to crash the party. When Trump descended a gilded escalator to announce his run in the summer of 2015, the candidate had met the moment.

Only by viewing Trump as the culmination of a decade-long civil war inside the GOP--and of the parallel sense of cultural, socioeconomic, and technological disruption during that period--can we appreciate how he won the White House and consider the fundamental questions at the center of America's current turmoil. How did a party once obsessed with national insolvency come to champion trillion-dollar deficits? How did the party of compassionate conservatism become the party of Muslim bans and family separation? How did the party of family values elect a thrice-married philanderer? And, most important, how long can such a party survive?

Loaded with explosive original reporting and based off hundreds of exclusive interviews--including with key players such as President Trump, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, and Reince Priebus, among many others--American Carnage takes us behind the scenes of this tumultuous period as we've never seen it before and establishes Tim Alberta as the premier chronicler of this political era.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Alberta, chief political reporter for Politico, didn't have to look far to find his title. ""American carnage"" are words Donald Trump used in his inaugural speech to describe the state of the country. Here it's shorthand for how the Republican Party became the party of Trump, fueled by Republican dissatisfaction with the party of Bush, as George W. left the country broke and mired in war. The term also evokes the ire provoked among Republicans by the ineffectual presidential campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney, who couldn't win against Barack Hussein Obama, a man the Right viewed as elitist and condescending (and who is, yes, Black). All of that led, along with anger at political correctness and changing demographics, to the Republican Party being fractured between the firebrands and the traditionalists. The latter attempted to address the former's concerns, but, alas, as one operative put it, ""We fed the beast and the beast ate us."" By the time Trump turned up, the Republican establishment already knew that it had lost the soul of the party. Still, few believed it was going to be a celebrity and former Democrat who would remake the party in his own image. For the reader, this account is often head swirling. Events that seemed indelible at the time are now mere blips; fortunately, Alberta does a stellar job of putting matters in context. Thanks in part to the many insiders to whom he's had access, there's also a you-are-there fascination here. This is particularly true when it comes to former speaker John Boehner, who describes how he presided over the traditional party and its (as well as his own) demise. Trump is here, too, of course. The book opens and closes with him, and when asked if he's transformational, he responds, ""Honestly, can there even be a question?""--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Republican congressional factions battle each other and Donald Trump for the party's soul in this sweeping study of modern American politics. Politico magazine correspondent Alberta surveys a decade of GOP upheaval; he begins with the rise of the ultraconservative Tea Party and its feud with establishment Republicans during Barack Obama's presidency, moves on to party leaders' failed efforts to quash Trump's 2016 campaign, and recounts their struggle to corral votes in a Republican Congress after Trump's victory and to deal with the president's volatile style and erratic leadership. Drawing on extensive interviews with politicians and pundits, Alberta's engrossing narrative is full of sharp intrigues and vivid personalities and focuses on attempts by House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan to craft legislative compromises against furious resistance--and speakership challenges--from the party's uncompromising right wing. Alongside the horse-trading, Alberta explores two tectonic shifts in the American electorate: the Republican base's turn away from small-government, fiscally austere, free market, free trade Tea Party doctrine to a Trumpian populism of anti-immigrant xenophobia, protectionism, and free-spending industrial policy, as well as an overall demographic shift toward a less white, better educated, more urban population. Incorporating trenchant analysis and a wealth of detail in stylish prose, Alberta highlights the broad currents beneath the chaos of recent politics. (July)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Trump, Donald, -- 1946-
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) -- History -- 21st century.
Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 2016.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description x, 678 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical notes (pages 617-638) and index.
ISBN 9780062896445
006289644X
Other Classic View