A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle
Author: Jeff Flake
Publisher: Random House
Category: Political Science
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A thoughtful defense of traditional conservatism and a thorough assault on the way Donald Trump is betraying it.”—David Brooks, in his New York Times column In a bold act of conscience, Republican Senator Jeff Flake takes his party to task for embracing nationalism, populism, xenophobia, and the anomalous Trump presidency. The book is an urgent call for a return to bedrock conservative principle and a cry to once again put country before party. Dear Reader, I am a conservative. I believe that there are limits to what government can and should do, that there are some problems that government cannot solve, and that human initiative is best when left unfettered, free from government interference or coercion. I believe that these ideas, tested by time, offer the most freedom and best outcomes in the lives of the most people. But today, the American conservative movement has lost its way. Given the state of our politics, it is no exaggeration to say that this is an urgent matter. The Republican party used to play to a broader audience, one that demanded that we accomplish something. But in this era of dysfunction, our primary accomplishment has been constructing the argument that we’re not to blame. We have decided that it is better to build and maintain a majority by using the levers of power rather than the art of persuasion and the battle of ideas. We’ve decided that putting party over country is okay. There are many on both sides of the aisle who think this a good model on which to build a political career—destroying, not building. And all the while, our country burns, our institutions are undermined, and our values are compromised. We have become so estranged from our principles that we no longer know what principle is. America is not just a collection of transactions. America is also a collection of ideas and values. And these are our values. These are our principles. They are not subject to change, owing to political fashion or cult of personality. I believe that we desperately need to get back to the rigorous, fact-based arguments that made us conservatives in the first place. We need to realize that the stakes are simply too high to remain silent and fall in line. That is why I have written this book and am taking this stand. —Jeff Flake
To what extent do we and can we understand others—other peoples, species, times, and places? What is the role of others within ourselves, epitomized in the notion of unconscious forces? Can we come to terms with our internalized others in ways that foster mutual understanding and counteract the tendency to scapegoat, project, victimize, and indulge in prejudicial and narcissistic impulses? How do various fields or disciplines address or avoid such questions? And have these questions become particularly pressing and not in the least confined to other peoples, times, and places? Making selective and critical use of the thought of such important figures as Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida, and Mikhail Bakhtin, in Understanding Others Dominick LaCapra investigates a series of crucial topics from the current state of deconstruction, trauma studies, and the humanities to newer fields such as animal studies and posthumanist scholarship. LaCapra adroitly brings critical historical thought into a provocative engagement with politics and our current political climate. This is LaCapra at his best, critically rethinking major currents and exploring the old and the new in combination, often suggesting what this means in the age of Trump.
Bill Schneider, former CNN senior political analyst, takes us inside the voting booth in “a detailed examination of recent presidential elections studded with sharp observations…A good choice for political junkies” (Kirkus Reviews). In the 1960s, a rift developed between the Old America and the New America that resulted in a populist backlash that ultimately elected Donald Trump in 2016. Bill Schneider describes today’s American populism in Standoff as one that is economically progressive and culturally conservative. Liberals are attacked as cultural elitists (“limousine liberals”), and conservatives as economic elitists (“country club conservatives”). Trump, says Schneider, is the complete populist package. He embraces social populism (anti-immigrant), economic populism (anti-free trade), and isolationism (“America First”). Standoff examines a number of hard-fought elections to show us how we got to Trump. He asserts the power of public opinion. He points to the public that draws the line on abortion and affirmative action. He shows why an intense minority cancels a majority on gun control, immigration, small government, and international interests. Standoff tells us why fifty years of presidential contests have often been confounding. It takes us inside to watch how and why Americans pull the lever, how they choose their issues, and select their leaders. It is usually values that trump economics. Required reading for an understanding of the 2016 election and the political future, Schneider’s “fast-paced” (Publishers Weekly) Standoff shows how Americans vote and why their votes sometimes seem to make no practical sense.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Comprehensive, enlightening, and terrifyingly timely.” —New York Times Book Review “Cool and persuasive... How Democracies Die comes at exactly the right moment.” —The Washington Post Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one. Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.