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American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy

de David Corn

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863309,346 (4.75)2
"A fast-paced, rollicking account of how paranoia and conspiracy theories have long been major elements within the GOP and how these forces came to triumph under Donald Trump, AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS offers readers a brisk, can-you-believe-this journey through this netherworld of far-right irrationality and explores its interactions with the GOP. It tells the tale of how the Republican Party has turned into a conspiracy cult, kicking ideology and policy principles to the curb in support of a president who embraced and exploited-and stirred-the most bizarre and craziest extremism of the right. The Trump-incited insurrectionist attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was no aberration. AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS reveals it was a continuation of a long and deep-rooted tradition within the party, the result of a derangement on the right that has been accepted and often nurtured by the GOP. AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS entertains and enlightens even as it horrifies, and will be a crucial part of the roiling conversation under way in the run-up to the first post-Trump election. The story told in AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS covers the last half-century; from McCarthyism to the Birchers to segregationists to the religious right to the militia movement to Rush Limbaugh to the tea party and to Donald Trump, the Republican Party has encouraged and exploited right-wing fear and loathing that has been dangerously fueled by conspiracy theories, and now holds the entire United States political process in its grip"--… (mais)
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There are two good book reviews on Library Thing. Better than anything I could write. With tongue in cheek I would caution any GOP members to think twice before reading this book. The party history just might make you think twice before you vote in the next election. ( )
  MrDickie | Mar 5, 2023 |
truly this is so interesting. i had no idea the crazy ran so deep in the gop, that it's been for so long that the party members who most pander to the extremists on the right are the ones who are rewarded. that a few republicans started out more morally moderate and lost election after election, until they embraced the racist and extreme rhetoric and wacko conspiracy theories. then they won their races and found themselves moving further and further to the right to court and keep those votes. (even newt gingrich didn't start out anti-abortion!!) they allowed people spouting truly wild things legitimacy, and those people and beliefs have become more and more foundational to the party we see today. but plenty of them started out that bad. like reagan. i knew he was awful but i didn't really realize how terrible he always was, and how much of a truly right-wing nut he started out as, and continued to embrace being. a good part of this book talks about him and his success, and who he relied on (it's always the craziest, the ones that the gop insiders literally called 'the kooks'). how extremist his views were at the time (how moderate george hw bush was, to start out with) and how they only got more entrenched. there's a lot here about mccarthy, too, and how he literally just made up things to accuse people he didn't want to work with. it's a wild (but totally predictable and understandable) line from them to trump. truly nothing in this book makes trump sound any worse than any of the others, except that he was more vocal about saying what everyone else was keeping closer to their chest. if i hadn't lived through the recent years, i honestly would think worse of the other gopers that corn discusses in this book, which just really makes it clear how truly awful they've been.

he addresses something in the epilogue that i wish he'd talked about a little more a little earlier. throughout the book i'd been wondering about the democrats, who i don't think are angels or automatically right or worthy. i feel like i'd be interested in a book about the ways they've deceived and pandered and the times they've made deals with devils as well. he does finally address this, to say that while the democrats aren't blameless through history, haven't been innocent in lying and scandal, that they literally haven't done anything like what the republicans have done. that their missteps tend to be personal while the gop's tend to be more constitutional, or are about/affect the country and their constituents. i know that this was all about the history of the craziness in the gop, not the craziness in the democrats, but it was nice to have a small comparison, and to know that it's not even remotely comparable.

seeing the concessions that people made to the extremists, just to get their votes, just to stay in power, and then to see that extremism seep its way into the core of the party, is fascinating and horrible. people like john boehner, who saw the only way to gain power was to embrace positions further and further right, and more and more dangerous, but who was willing to do it, and then complained that those people were impossible to work with, impossible to please. the soul of the republican party died ages ago, and it doesn't seem possible to resurrect it now that we've reached this point. the point where it's all out in the open, and it's become the gop in an obvious way - the way where the people now expect it (and often want it).

there are dozens of quotes and sections worth quoting, but i think this one sums them all up:

"No national Democrat in recent decades has openly courted voters with explicit bigotry and enmity. No Democratic president has made direct common cause with extremists, spread so many lies, and bolstered conspiracism. Trump's style of politics was a hopped up version of the paranoid style of politics. He found a home for it in the Republican party. What does it say about the GOP that it could be subsumed by a demagogic political novice who played to bigots, racists and other extremists?" ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Feb 18, 2023 |
American Psychosis by David Corn is the story of the Republican Party, from its conflicted beginning to its current state of insatiable power hungriness at the cost of all that is ethical, moral, or even remotely logical.

First, since you'll see people make asinine complaints, the history here is of the Republican Party, so that is the party being looked at and analyzed. Seems pretty simple to understand but some are incapable. Also, he doesn't pretend other parties and/or individuals are without responsibility for what has happened to the country. But, again, the focus here is on the GOP, so their issues are the ones examined. And, since the GOP is the party that is currently anti-democracy (ignore or overturn the voters, just do what we say), the split between what has come to be known as liberal and conservative is explored from the party's inception. This shouldn't all have to be said, but these are the kinds of empty "issues" some "readers" come up with.

The history is intriguing, especially the early history of the GOP. Almost from the beginning, they took what politicians and those seeking to either rule or govern have always done and taken it to unethical extremes. If an issue is deemed important, some level of fear about what might happen is a part of making people act. While there has been rational reasons for curbing the climate change, it wasn't until some level of fear finally sank in that we have even considered doing anything. Though less obvious, fear is a part of why we may vote one way rather than another. The problem is when that fear is overblown and/or generated around known falsehoods. Gingrich is largely responsible for how the GOP now regularly creates a lie, spreads it, then blows it up into a full-fledged catastrophe. In a nutshell, that has always been the GOP.

There were a lot of things I didn't realize about their history, and, like a lot of people, even the things I knew I hadn't put together in a chronological narrative but saw them simply as isolated incidents. They largely weren't so isolated.

While I would recommend this to anyone who cares about this country remaining a democracy, I know that would leave out the GOP readers, since they have long since sold their souls. But, I do highly recommend it for the rest of us with functioning brain cells and some compassion for our fellow human beings.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  pomo58 | Nov 11, 2022 |
Exibindo 3 de 3
Throughout, Corn draws incisive profiles of... Republican operatives who "encouraged and cashed in on extremist paranoia, bigotry, and conspiracy theory," and draws a clear through line from the rise of Barry Goldwater to the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Though it covers familiar ground, this incisive political history persuades.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarPublisher's Weekly (Oct 3, 2022)
 
"Formed 168 years earlier to save the nation from the expansion of slavery," writes the author, "the Republican Party now infected with a political madness, [is] a threat to the republic." A sobering look at the ideological destruction, born of cynicism and opportunism, of a once-principled party.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarKirkus Reviews (Oct 1, 2022)
 
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"A fast-paced, rollicking account of how paranoia and conspiracy theories have long been major elements within the GOP and how these forces came to triumph under Donald Trump, AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS offers readers a brisk, can-you-believe-this journey through this netherworld of far-right irrationality and explores its interactions with the GOP. It tells the tale of how the Republican Party has turned into a conspiracy cult, kicking ideology and policy principles to the curb in support of a president who embraced and exploited-and stirred-the most bizarre and craziest extremism of the right. The Trump-incited insurrectionist attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was no aberration. AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS reveals it was a continuation of a long and deep-rooted tradition within the party, the result of a derangement on the right that has been accepted and often nurtured by the GOP. AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS entertains and enlightens even as it horrifies, and will be a crucial part of the roiling conversation under way in the run-up to the first post-Trump election. The story told in AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS covers the last half-century; from McCarthyism to the Birchers to segregationists to the religious right to the militia movement to Rush Limbaugh to the tea party and to Donald Trump, the Republican Party has encouraged and exploited right-wing fear and loathing that has been dangerously fueled by conspiracy theories, and now holds the entire United States political process in its grip"--

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