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One of American political history's most famous figures, who knows what it's like to stand up to an authoritarian White House, joins with an expert on authoritarianism to take a piercing look at how someone like Donald Trump and his followers achieved power—and what they might do to keep it ... John Dean, of Watergate fame, knows what it's like to work for a strong-willed, vindictive president. But even Richard Nixon, says Dean, didn't have the raw lust for power that Donald Trump has. Nor the lack of skill. Nor the deep, willful ignorance of our democracy. So how did such a person achieve power? Suspecting the answer lay in understanding Trump's base constituency, Dean has partnered with Bob Altemeyer, a professor of psychology whose expertise is the study of authoritarianism, to see why Trump's base is so faithful to him, no matter what he does. Why do evangelical Christians support him, for example, despite his well-documented sexual predations? Why do so many working class Americans support him, despite the way he works against their interests? Why do facts and logic not change their minds? By drawing on some psychological diagnostic tools (such as the "Power Mad Scale" and the "Con Man Scale") and looking at other historic authoritarians and their movements, Dean and Altemeyer offer not only an eye-opening revelation of how Trump and his followers have gotten where they have . . . but a road map to where they may go next.
"Explaining the Donald Trump phenomenon is a challenge that will occupy critical theorists of U.S. politics for years to come. Firstly, Donald Trump won the Republican primary contest and is now a contender in the U.S. Presidential Election because he is the master of media spectacle, which he has deployed to create resonant images of himself in his business career, in his effort to become a celebrity and reality-TV superstar, and now his political campaign. More disturbingly, Trump embodies Authoritarian Populism and has used racism, nationalism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the disturbing underside of American politics to mobilize his supporters in his successful Republican primary campaign and in the hotly contested 2016 general election. The Trump phenomenon is a teachable moment that helps us understand the changes and contour of U.S. politics in the contemporary moment and the role of broadcast media, new media and social networking, and the politics of the spectacle. Trump reveals the threat of authoritarian populism, a phenomenon that is now global in scope, and the dangers of the rise to power of an individual who is highly destructive, who represents the worst of the 1 percent billionaire business class who masquerades as a “voice of the forgotten man” as he advances a political agenda that largely benefits the rich and the military, and who is a clear and present danger to U.S. democracy and global peace. The book documents how Trump’s rise to global celebrity and now political power is bound up with his use of media spectacle and how his use of authoritarian populism has created a mass movement beyond his presidency and a danger to the traditions of U.S. democracy as well as economic security and world peace."
On the heels of his national bestseller Worse Than Watergate, John Dean takes a critical look at the current conservative movement In Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean places the conservative movement's inner circle of leaders in the Republican Party under scrutiny. Dean finds their policies and mind- set to be fundamentally authoritarian, and as such, a danger to democracy. By examining the legacies of such old-line conservatives as J. Edgar Hoover, Spiro Agnew, and Phyllis Schlafly and of such current figures as Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and leaders of the Religious Right, Dean presents an alarming record of abuses of power. His trenchant analysis of how conservatism has lost its bearings serves as a chilling warning and a stirring inspiration to safeguard constitutional principles.
Are we in the beginning of a new fascist era? As white supremacy, ultra-nationalism, rabid misogyny and anti-immigrant fervor coalesce, a new and uniquely American form of fascism looms. Could our current moment actually bring about the end of democracy in the United States? Are Americans willing to surrender their freedom and dignity, along with their ongoing struggle for equality, justice and mutual respect in the face of the rising tide of political and ideological extremism? In this provocative collection of essays, Henry Giroux warns of the consequences of doing too little as Trump and the so-called alt-right relentlessly attack critics, journalists, and target the hard-earned civil rights of women, people of color, immigrants, the working class, and low-income Americans. As we face down the frightening reality of living under a system that serves only the interests of the wealthy few, Giroux makes a passionate call for ordinary citizens to organize, educate, and resist by all available means. Praise for American Nightmare: "In this current era of corporate media misdirection and misinformation . . . Henry Giroux is one of the few great political voices of today, with powerful insight into the truth. Dr. Giroux is defiantly explaining, against the grain, what's REALLY going on right now, and doing so quite undeniably. Simply put, the ideas he brings forth are a beacon that need to be seen and heard and understood in order for the world to progress."—Julian Casablancas, lead vocalist for The Strokes "In frightening times like these, what is desperately needed is an informed and wise voice that speaks clearly and with conviction about the situation we are in, and what can be done. Henry Giroux is one of the great public intellectuals of our times, and American Nightmare is exactly the book for people grappling with how to understand the Trump era and how to proceed. This is precisely the book that needs to be shared with friends and acquaintances. It will provoke hard thinking, bring clarity, and stimulate much needed conversation and action."—Robert W. McChesney, co-author of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy "We have no greater chronicler of these dystopian times. Giroux's critique cuts to the crux of today’s authoritarian crisis, yet his voice remains of one hope that the people may collectively regain control. Even while living though systemic efforts to privatize hope, Giroux’s critique enacts the sort of shared resistance that can effectively challenge authoritarianism. American Nightmare demonstrates how we can resist the normalization of hate, authoritarianism and alienation in Trump’s America. He shows us that not only are we not alone, but we are among a majority who oppose the cruelties of American social policies."—David H. Price, author of Cold War Anthropology: The CIA and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology "At a moment when the news cycle presents the dangers of Trumpian authoritarianism through disjointed and discrete hottakes, Giroux's wide-reaching analysis accounts for our current American nightmare with necessary historical context, and in so doing creates an aperture for resistance more meaningful than a hashtag."—Natasha Lennard, contributing writer for The Intercept, co-editor of Violence: Humans in Dark Times
Based on Nixon’s overlooked recordings, New York Times bestselling author John W. Dean connects the dots between what we’ve come to believe about Watergate and what actually happened Watergate forever changed American politics, and in light of the revelations about the NSA’s widespread surveillance program, the scandal has taken on new significance. Yet remarkably, four decades after Nixon was forced to resign, no one has told the full story of his involvement in Watergate. In The Nixon Defense, former White House Counsel John W. Dean, one of the last major surviving figures of Watergate, draws on his own transcripts of almost a thousand conversations, a wealth of Nixon’s secretly recorded information, and more than 150,000 pages of documents in the National Archives and the Nixon Library to provide the definitive answer to the question: What did President Nixon know and when did he know it? Through narrative and contemporaneous dialogue, Dean connects dots that have never been connected, including revealing how and why the Watergate break-in occurred, what was on the mysterious 18 1/2 minute gap in Nixon’s recorded conversations, and more. In what will stand as the most authoritative account of one of America’s worst political scandals, The Nixon Defense shows how the disastrous mistakes of Watergate could have been avoided and offers a cautionary tale for our own time. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"The twelve lessons in On Fascism draws from American history and brilliantly complement those of Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny." —Laurence Tribe An expert on American authoritarianism offers a searing rebuke of the exceptional narrative that dominates our understanding of US history. In 12 lessons, Matthew C. MacWilliams' On Fascism exposes the divisive rhetoric, strongman tactics, violent othering, and authoritarian attitudes that course through American history and compete with our egalitarian, democratic aspirations. Trumpism isn’t new, but rooted in our refusal to come to terms with this historical reality. The United States of Lyncherdom, as Mark Twain labeled America. Lincoln versus Douglas. The Chinese Exclusion Act. The Trail of Tears. The internment of Japanese-Americans. The Palmer Raids. McCarthyism. The Surveillance State. At turning points throughout history, as we aspired toward great things, we also witnessed the authoritarian impulse drive policy and win public support. Only by confronting and reconciling this past, can America move forward into a future rooted in the motto of our Republic since 1782: e pluribus unum (out of many, one). But this book isn’t simply an indictment. It is also a celebration of our spirit, perseverance, and commitment to the values at the heart of the American project. Along the way, we learn about many American heroes – like Ida B. Wells, who dedicated her life to documenting the horrors of lynching throughout the nation, or the young Jewish-American who took a beating for protesting a Nazi rally in New York City in 1939. Men and women who embodied the soaring, revolutionary proclamations set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. On Fascism is both an honest reckoning and a call for reconciliation. Denial and division will not save the Republic, but coming to terms with our history might.
The concluding volume of The New York Times bestselling trilogy One of today's most outspoken and respected political commentators asks: How can our democracy function when the key institutions of government no longer operate as intended by the Constitution? Stepping back to assess three decades of nearly continuous Republican rule, John W. Dean surveys the damage done to the three branches of government and traces their decline through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Speaking to what the average moderate citizen can do to combat extremism, authoritarianism, incompetence, and the Republicans' deliberate focus on polarizing social issues, Broken Government is a must-have book for voters this election year.
It was just a godforsaken mountainside, but no place on earth was richer in silver. For a bustling, enterprising America, this was the great bonanza. The dreamers, the restless, the builders, the vultures—they were lured by the glittering promise of instant riches and survived the brutal hardships of a mining camp to raise a legendary boom town. But some sought more than wealth. Val Trevallion, a loner haunted by a violent past. Grita Redaway, a radiantly beautiful actress driven by an unfulfilled need. Two fiercely independent spirits, together they rose above the challenges of the Comstock to stake a bold claim on the future.
Former White House counsel and bestselling author John Dean reveals how the Bush White House has set America back decades--employing a worldview and tactics of deception that he claims will do more damage to the nation than Nixon at his worst.
The election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the UK have caused fear and panic among liberals worldwide. They argue that the populist backlash represents a dangerous new authoritarianism. But what if the really dangerous authoritarianism is in fact their own? In this provocative and highly original book, Salvatore Babones argues that democracy has been undermined by a quiet but devastating power grab conducted by a class of liberal experts. They have advanced a global rights-based agenda which has tilted the balance away from the lively and vibrant unpredictability of democratic decision-making toward the creeping technocratic authority of liberal consensus. Populism represents, contends Babones, an imperfect but reinvigorating political flood that has the potential to sweep away decades of institutional detritus and rejuvenate democracy across the West. Babones’ bracing attack on the insidious “new authoritarianism” of the expert class and call for an end to liberal mission creep will stimulate and challenge all readers trying to make sense of the political tumult of the recent past.