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The New York Times Bestseller The Wall Street Journal Bestseller “Few books are as well-matched to the moment of their publication as Ezra Klein’s Why We’re Polarized.” —Dan Hopkins, The Washington Post “It is likely to become the political book of the year....Powerful [and] intelligent.” —Fareed Zakaria, CNN “Superbly researched and written..." —Francis Fukuyama, The Washington Post America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed. In this book, journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us—and how we are polarizing it—with disastrous results. “The American political system—which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president—is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face,” writes political analyst Ezra Klein. “We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole.” In Why We’re Polarized, Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture. America is polarized, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics. Over the past fifty years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together. Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the twentieth century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized political identities and polarized political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis. This is a revelatory book that will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself.
A New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller "Few books are as well-matched to the moment of their publication" - Dan Hopkins, The Washington Post "Powerful [and] intelligent" - Fareed Zakaria, CNN "Superbly researched and written" - Francis Fukuyama, The Washington Post America's political system isn't broken. The truth is scarier: it's working exactly as designed. In Why We're Polarised, Ezra Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America's deep political divisions, revealing how a system filled with rational, functional parts can combine into a dysfunctional whole. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump's rise to the Democratic Party's leftward shift to the politicisation of everyday culture. Klein shows how and why American politics polarised in the twentieth century, what that polarisation did to Americans' views of the world and one another, and how feedback loops between polarised political identities and polarised political institutions drive the system toward crisis. This revelatory book will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself.
Hyperpartisanship is as old as American democracy. But now, acrimony is not confined to a moment; it's a permanent state of affairs and has seeped into every part of the political process. Identifying the overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse, It's Even Worse Than It Looks profoundly altered the debate about why America's government has become so dysfunctional. Through a new preface and afterword, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein bring the story forward, examining the 2012 presidential campaign and exploring the prospects of a less dysfunctional government. As provocative and controversial as ever, It's Even Worse Than It Looks will continue to set the terms of our political debate in the years to come.
Many continue to believe that the United States is a nation of political moderates. In fact, it is a nation divided. It has been so for some time and has grown more so. This book provides a new and historically grounded perspective on the polarization of America, systematically documenting how and why it happened. Polarized presents commonsense benchmarks to measure polarization, draws data from a wide range of historical sources, and carefully assesses the quality of the evidence. Through an innovative and insightful use of circumstantial evidence, it provides a much-needed reality check to claims about polarization. This rigorous yet engaging and accessible book examines how polarization displaced pluralism and how this affected American democracy and civil society. Polarized challenges the widely held belief that polarization is the product of party and media elites, revealing instead how the American public in the 1960s set in motion the increase of polarization. American politics became highly polarized from the bottom up, not the top down, and this began much earlier than often thought. The Democrats and the Republicans are now ideologically distant from each other and about equally distant from the political center. Polarized also explains why the parties are polarized at all, despite their battle for the decisive median voter. No subject is more central to understanding American politics than political polarization, and no other book offers a more in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the subject than this one.
The election of 2016 prompted journalists and political scientists to write obituaries for the Republican Party—or prophecies of a new dominance. But it was all rather familiar. Whenever one of our two great parties has a setback, we’ve heard: “This is the end of the Democratic Party,” or, “The Republican Party is going out of existence.” Yet both survive, and thrive. We have the oldest and third oldest political parties in the world—the Democratic Party founded in 1832 to reelect Andrew Jackson, the Republican Party founded in 1854 to oppose slavery in the territories. They are older than almost every American business, most American colleges, and many American churches. Both have seemed to face extinction in the past, and have rebounded to be competitive again. How have they managed it? Michael Barone, longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, brings a deep understanding of our electoral history to the question and finds a compelling answer. He illuminates how both parties have adapted, swiftly or haltingly, to shifting opinion and emerging issues, to economic change and cultural currents, to demographic flux. At the same time, each has maintained a constant character. The Republican Party appeals to “typical Americans” as understood at a given time, and the Democratic Party represents a coalition of “out-groups.” They are the yin and yang of American political life, together providing vehicles for expressing most citizens’ views in a nation that has always been culturally, religiously, economically, and ethnically diverse. The election that put Donald Trump in the White House may have appeared to signal a dramatic realignment, but in fact it involved less change in political allegiances than many before, and it does not portend doom for either party. How America’s Political Parties Change (and How They Don’t) astutely explains why these two oft-scorned institutions have been so resilient.
New York Times Bestseller New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice "An essential and groundbreaking text in the effort to understand how American criminal justice went so badly awry." —Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me In A Colony in a Nation, New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award–winning news anchor Chris Hayes upends the national conversation on policing and democracy. Drawing on wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis, as well as deeply personal experiences with law enforcement, Hayes contends that our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, the law is venerated. In the Colony, fear and order undermine civil rights. With great empathy, Hayes seeks to understand this systemic divide, examining its ties to racial inequality, the omnipresent threat of guns, and the dangerous and unfortunate results of choices made by fear.
Although politics at the elite level has been polarized for some time, a scholarly controversy has raged over whether ordinary Americans are polarized. This book argues that they are and that the reason is growing polarization of worldviews - what guides people's view of right and wrong and good and evil. These differences in worldview are rooted in what Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler describe as authoritarianism. They show that differences of opinion concerning the most provocative issues on the contemporary issue agenda - about race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems - reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. The authors demonstrate that the left and the right have coalesced around these opposing worldviews, which has provided politics with more incandescent hues than before.
“For almost two decades, investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell doggedly pursued the Klansmen responsible for some of the most notorious murders of the civil rights movement. This book is his amazing story. Thanks to him, and to courageous prosecutors, witnesses, and FBI agents, justice finally prevailed.” —John Grisham, author of The Guardians On June 21, 1964, more than twenty Klansmen murdered three civil rights workers. The killings, in what would become known as the “Mississippi Burning” case, were among the most brazen acts of violence during the Civil Rights Movement. And even though the killers’ identities, including the sheriff’s deputy, were an open secret, no one was charged with murder in the months and years that followed. It took forty-one years before the mastermind was brought to trial and finally convicted for the three innocent lives he took. If there is one man who helped pave the way for justice, it is investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell. In Race Against Time, Mitchell takes readers on the twisting, pulse-racing road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings from the days of the Civil Rights Movement, decades after the fact. His work played a central role in bringing killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham and the Mississippi Burning case. Mitchell reveals how he unearthed secret documents, found long-lost suspects and witnesses, building up evidence strong enough to take on the Klan. He takes us into every harrowing scene along the way, as when Mitchell goes into the lion’s den, meeting one-on-one with the very murderers he is seeking to catch. His efforts have put four leading Klansmen behind bars, years after they thought they had gotten away with murder. Race Against Time is an astonishing, courageous story capturing a historic race for justice, as the past is uncovered, clue by clue, and long-ignored evils are brought into the light. This is a landmark book and essential reading for all Americans.
Fateful alliances -- Gatekeeping in America -- The great Republican abdication -- Subverting democracy -- The guardrails of democracy -- The unwritten rules of American politics -- The unraveling -- Trump against the guardrails -- Saving democracy
Why are Americans so angry with each other? The United States is caught in a partisan hyperconflict that divides politicians, communities—and even families. Politicians from the president to state and local office-holders play to strongly-held beliefs and sometimes even pour fuel on the resulting inferno. This polarization has become so intense that many people no longer trust anyone from a differing perspective. Drawing on his personal story of growing up as a fundamentalist Christian on a dairy farm in rural Ohio, then as an academic in the heart of the liberal East Coast establishment, Darrell West analyzes the economic, cultural, and political aspects of polarization. He takes advantage of his experiences inside both conservative and liberal camps to explain the views of each side and offer insights into why each is angry with the other. West argues that societal tensions have metastasized into a dangerous tribalism that seriously threatens U.S. democracy. Unless people can bridge these divisions and forge a new path forward, it will be impossible to work together, maintain a functioning democracy, and solve the country's pressing policy problems.