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American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump

de Tim Alberta

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23211115,651 (3.86)12
Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

New York Times' Top Books of 2019

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 cultural and demographic landscape, 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 Republican Party??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 obsessed with the national debt vote for trillion-dollar deficits and record-setting spending increases? How did the party of compassionate conservatism become the party of Muslim bans and walls? How did the party of family values elect a thrice-divorced philanderer? And, most important, how long can such a party survive?

Loaded with exclusive reporting and based off hundreds of interviews??including with key players such as President Trump, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, and Reince Priebus, and 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 thi… (mais)

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Cinderella is one of my favorite fairy tales. I love all the various tellings, and the messages that each have. As a child it was a tale that reminded me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was worth fighting for. The prince was a metaphor for happiness.

This idea, of what happens after the fairy tale, where the town within the story is centuries after the princess is dead was enthralling. I loved the way the author played with the way that stories can shape our beliefs. How not everything we are told by those in power is true, but many will follow it willing because they either have accepted defeat or have heard it so many times they believe it to be so. But like fire, it just takes a spark of defiance. A single soul to question the truth, and it will ignite a resistance.

This book held many parallels to our current society. They were woven into the story is such a manner that wasn't overbearing, but after reading it, one can't help but feel inspired and stabby.

You'll love this book if you love retellings, fairy tales within fairy tales, and books with happy endings. While it's YA, and the MC makes some of those dreadful YA choices, it did not feel like the typical YA.

Note: LGBT Characters, Own Voice ( )
  buukluvr | Feb 14, 2023 |
A well-done book, but not my kinda book. Long, exhaustive history of Republican Party politics for the last 10 years or so, but mostly about DJT and his relationship with other Republicans. I learned a lot certainly, but it involved wallowing in a lot of history I didn’t like watching at the time and It wasn’t any better reviewing in hindsight either. One thing I liked about the book is that the author is a conservative himself, just not a wacko, so it was good to get an insider perspective (although Albertson’s a journalist not a politician).

Political junkies, have fun with this book. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
If you read the newspapers or keep up with the news, the contents of this book will not surprise you. However, the longer you read the book, the more you will feel despair, grow angry and feel depressed. Truth be told I have no respect for about 95% of members of the Republican party and about 100% of Republican members of Congress. There was some attempt at sanity by various people like John Boehner, John McCain and Paul Ryan to reign in some of the insanity from members of the hard Right, evangelicals and tea party members.

Regrettably the Republican Party, especially with Trump, have given in to their basic instincts – – – – racism, nationalism, fear of change etc. You will read countless examples of where narrow self interests particularly those of the Rich are pushed against the interests of the middle class and general populace.

The party of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush is dead. Alberta’s book provides the timeline and autopsy results of the death of the Republican party. It's now Trump's party. Vestiges of civility, compassion and good judgment have been stamped out. Alberta's book shows that Trump had many willing accomplices ready and willing to sell their souls and sell out the interests of this country. ( )
  writemoves | Oct 26, 2021 |
shitty ( )
  BillGour | Mar 20, 2021 |
Though the title is taken from Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural address, this book is about more than just the 45th president of the United States and his impact on the Republican Party. Instead what Tim Alberta provides is a Washington-eye view of the evolution of the national GOP from the 2008 election to the midway point of Trump’s presidency. A longtime political reporter, Alberta draws upon a wealth of interviews with many of the key Republicans in Congress, featuring them as they key figures in their party’s evolution from the pro-immigration supporters of free trade and fiscal restraint into the more nativist, protectionist, and xenophobic party they have become since 2016.

As Alberta demonstrates, the factors that led to this transformation were present well before Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency. By the end of George W. Bush’s presidency Congressional Republicans faced a lot of internal discontent with their deficit spending habits and the costs of two interminable wars in the Middle East, to which was added the onset of a severe recession. With Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain in 2008, Republican leaders feared they might be politically marginalized for the next generation. Even in the afterglow of Obama’s victory, though, his team recognized that they would likely face a backlash because of the dismal economic conditions and the hard choices before them.

That backlash was the Tea Party movement. Its energy translated into Republican victories up and down the ballot in the midterm election. Yet even as Republicans benefited electorally from public dissatisfaction with Obama’s administration, Alberta notes the emerging tension between the party leadership and the new members of the caucus, many of whom rode to victory on the basis of this dissatisfaction. The new House Speaker, John Boehner, bore the brunt of this conflict, as the more radicalized members of his majority often pressed for actions that Boehner (who at one time was considered on the extreme wing of the House Republican caucus) resisted as pointless. Such extremism proved counter-productive in the Senate races that year, as Alberta notes how the selection of the more radical candidates cost the Republicans winnable races that would have given them unified control of Congress.

This tension only grew over the next six years, inspiring ambitious Republicans and frustrating legislative achievements. With Obama’s reelection victory in 2012, many within the party worried that they were on an electorally unsustainable course that would prove disastrous. Three years later the Republicans had a primary field notable for its considerable diversity, yet in the end what the base desired most was not ideological extremism or detailed conservative proposals, but someone who tapped into their cultural anxieties. Enter Donald Trump, whose often outrageous rhetoric and media savvy combined to win the nomination over a number of prominent party figures. Though many Republican officeholders blanched at his statements, his unexpected victory cuffed them to a mercurial figure who demanded total loyalty and who was even willing to sacrifice political power to get it.

Drawing as he does from conversations with many of the key individuals involved, Alberta offers an insider’s account of a decade’s worth of American politics. As perceptive of much of his analysis is, though, Alberta’s book suffers from some unfortunate limitations. These are a consequence of his “inside the Beltway” focus, with little consideration of developments at the state and the local level. With only a marginal effort made to unpack the dynamics that often drove many of the events he describes, the Congressional maneuvering and political infighting he describes can assume a greater importance than it might otherwise possess. A more expansive coverage might have made for a stronger book, albeit perhaps a less readable one. For with its mixture of reporting and retrospective commentary, Alberta’s book serves as a compulsively readable record of an important moment in the history of the Republican Party, one the consequences of which continue to ripple outward. ( )
  MacDad | Aug 20, 2020 |
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Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections of human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. -James Madison, Federalist No. 51
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How did Donald Trump become president of the United States?

Since the early morning hours of November 9, 2016, game attempts to solve this riddle have been subject to the same disorienting forces that came to define his political ascent: ideological bias and tribal loyalty, social alienation and demographic transition, institutional breakdown and political polarization. -Author's Note
The Resolute Desk is clean and uncluttered, its walnut veneer glimmering as rays of late afternoon sun dart between the regal golden curtains and irradiate the Oval Office. -Prologue
She was shaken with disbelief, then ablaze with defiance, the churn of emotion, ultimately yielding a pure, righteous fury. It was mere minutes until the pinnacle of her professional life: introducing her favored presidential candidate, in the heat of a contested Republican primary, at the Conservative Political Action Conference. This felt like an inflection point for the party, and Laura Ingraham, the acid-tongued radio host, had prepared accordingly. Worried that Republicans would succumb to nominating John McCain, the ideologically autonomous senator who had betrayed the right on everything from tax policy to campaign finance, Ingraham readied a blistering attack on the Grand Old Party's front-runner and a final plea for voters to rally behind the true conservative in the race: Mitt Romney. -Chapter One, February 2008
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Politics. Nonfiction. HTML:

New York Times' Top Books of 2019

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 cultural and demographic landscape, 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 Republican Party??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 obsessed with the national debt vote for trillion-dollar deficits and record-setting spending increases? How did the party of compassionate conservatism become the party of Muslim bans and walls? How did the party of family values elect a thrice-divorced philanderer? And, most important, how long can such a party survive?

Loaded with exclusive reporting and based off hundreds of interviews??including with key players such as President Trump, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, and Reince Priebus, and 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 thi

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