Kill Switch The Rise Of The Modern Senate And The Crippling Of American Democracy - [PDF] Full eBook Download

Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy

Author : ,

ISBN10 : 1631497782

Publisher : Liveright Publishing

Number of Pages : 336

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 1131

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Book Summary: An insider’s account of how politicians representing a radical white minority of Americans have used “the world’s greatest deliberative body” to hijack our democracy. Every major decision governing our diverse, majority-female, and increasingly liberal country bears the stamp of the United States Senate, an institution controlled by people who are almost exclusively white, overwhelmingly male, and disproportionately conservative. Although they do not represent a majority of Americans—and will not for the foreseeable future—today’s Republican senators possess the power to block most legislation. Once known as “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” the Senate has become one of the greatest threats to our democracy. How did this happen? In Kill Switch, Senate insider Adam Jentleson contends that far from reflecting the Framers’ vision, the Senate has been transformed over the decades by a tenacious minority of white conservatives. From John Calhoun in the mid-1800s to Mitch McConnell in the 2010s, their primary weapon has been the filibuster, or the requirement that most legislation secure the support of a supermajority of senators. Yet, as Jentleson reveals, the filibuster was not a feature of the original Senate and, in allowing a determined minority to gridlock the federal government, runs utterly counter to the Framers’ intent. For much of its history, the filibuster was used primarily to prevent civil rights legislation from becoming law. But more recently, Republicans have refined it into a tool for imposing their will on all issues, wielding it to thwart an increasingly progressive American majority represented by Barack Obama’s agenda and appointees. Under Donald Trump, McConnell merged the filibuster with rigid leadership structures initially forged by Lyndon Johnson, in the process surrendering the Senate’s independence and centrality, as infamously shown by its acquiescence in Trump’s impeachment trial. The result is a failed institution and a crippled democracy. Taking us into the Capitol Hill backrooms where the institution’s decline is most evident, Jentleson shows that many of the greatest challenges of our era—partisan polarization, dark money, a media culture built on manufactured outrage—converge within the Senate. Even as he charts the larger forces that have shaped the institution where he served, Jentleson offers incisive portraits of the powerful senators who laid the foundation for the modern Senate, from Calhoun to McConnell to LBJ’s mentor, Richard Russell, to the unapologetic racist Jesse Helms. An essential, revelatory investigation, Kill Switch ultimately makes clear that unless we immediately and drastically reform the Senate’s rules and practices—starting with reforming the filibuster—we face the prospect of permanent minority rule in America.

Filibustering

Author : Gregory Koger

ISBN10 : 0226449661

Publisher : University of Chicago Press

Number of Pages : 272

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 1972

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Book Summary: In the modern Congress, one of the highest hurdles for major bills or nominations is gaining the sixty votes necessary to shut off a filibuster in the Senate. But this wasn’t always the case. Both citizens and scholars tend to think of the legislative process as a game played by the rules in which votes are the critical commodity—the side that has the most votes wins. In this comprehensive volume,Gregory Koger shows, on the contrary, that filibustering is a game with slippery rules in which legislators who think fast and try hard can triumph over superior numbers. Filibustering explains how and why obstruction has been institutionalized in the U.S. Senate over the last fifty years, and how this transformation affects politics and policymaking. Koger also traces the lively history of filibustering in the U.S. House during the nineteenth century and measures the effects of filibustering—bills killed, compromises struck, and new issues raised by obstruction. Unparalleled in the depth of its theory and its combination of historical and political analysis, Filibustering will be the definitive study of its subject for years to come.

The Cynic

Author : Alec MacGillis

ISBN10 : 1476761078

Publisher : Simon and Schuster

Number of Pages : 50

Category : Biography & Autobiography

Viewed : 1604

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Book Summary: From a dogged political reporter, an investigation into the political education of Mitch McConnell and an argument that this powerful Senator embodies much of this country’s political dysfunction. Based on interviews with more than seventy-five people who have worked alongside Mitch McConnell or otherwise interacted with him over the course of his career, The Cynic, which will be published as an original ebook, is both a comprehensive biography of one of this country’s most powerful politicians and a damning diagnosis of this country's eroding political will. Tracing his rise from a pragmatic local official in Kentucky to the leader of the Republican opposition in Washington, the book tracks McConnell’s transformation from a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and public employee unions to the embodiment of partisan obstructionism and conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill. Driven less by a shift in ideological conviction than by a desire to win elections and stay in power at all costs, McConnell’s transformation exemplifies the “permanent campaign” mindset that has come to dominate American government. From his first race for local office in 1977—when the ad crew working on it nicknamed McConnell “love-me-love-me” for his insecurity and desire to please—to his fraught accommodation of the Tea Party, McConnell’s political career is a story of ideological calcification and a vital mirror for understanding this country’s own political development and what is wrought when politicians serve not at the behest of country, but at the behest of party and personal aggrandizement.

Let them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality

Author : Jacob S. Hacker,Paul Pierson

ISBN10 : 1631496859

Publisher : Liveright Publishing

Number of Pages : 304

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 395

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Book Summary: A New York Times Editors’ Choice An “essential” (Jane Mayer) account of the dangerous marriage of plutocratic economic priorities and right-wing populist appeals — and how it threatens the pillars of American democracy. In Let Them Eat Tweets, best-selling political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that despite the rhetoric of Donald Trump, Josh Hawley, and other right-wing “populists,” the Republican Party came to serve its plutocratic masters to a degree without precedent in modern global history. To maintain power while serving the 0.1 percent, the GOP has relied on increasingly incendiary racial and cultural appeals to its almost entirely white base. Calling this dangerous hybrid “plutocratic populism,” Hacker and Pierson show how, over the last forty years, reactionary plutocrats and right-wing populists have become the two faces of a party that now actively undermines democracy to achieve its goals against the will of the majority of Americans. Based on decades of research and featuring a new epilogue about the intensification of GOP radicalism after the 2020 election, Let Them Eat Tweets authoritatively explains the doom loop of tax cutting and fearmongering that defines the Republican Party—and reveals how the rest of us can fight back.

Freedom From the Market

Author : Mike Konczal

ISBN10 : 1620975386

Publisher : The New Press

Number of Pages : 258

Category : Social Science

Viewed : 1228

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Book Summary: The progressive economics writer redefines the national conversation about American freedom “Mike Konczal [is] one of our most powerful advocates of financial reform‚ [a] heroic critic of austerity‚ and a huge resource for progressives.”—Paul Krugman Health insurance, student loan debt, retirement security, child care, work-life balance, access to home ownership—these are the issues driving America’s current political debates. And they are all linked, as this brilliant and timely book reveals, by a single question: should we allow the free market to determine our lives? In the tradition of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, noted economic commentator Mike Konczal answers this question with a resounding no. Freedom from the Market blends passionate political argument and a bold new take on American history to reveal that, from the earliest days of the republic, Americans have defined freedom as what we keep free from the control of the market. With chapters on the history of the Homestead Act and land ownership, the eight-hour work day and free time, social insurance and Social Security, World War II day cares, Medicare and desegregation, free public colleges, intellectual property, and the public corporation, Konczal shows how citizens have fought to ensure that everyone has access to the conditions that make us free. At a time when millions of Americans—and more and more politicians—are questioning the unregulated free market, Freedom from the Market offers a new narrative, and new intellectual ammunition, for the fight that lies ahead.

Inside Congress

Author : Trevor Corning,Reema Dodin,Kyle Nevins

ISBN10 : 0815727348

Publisher : Brookings Institution Press

Number of Pages : 60

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 540

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Book Summary: Required reading for anyone who wants to understand how to work within Congress. The House and Senate have unique rules and procedures to determine how legislation moves from a policy idea to law. Evolved over the last 200 years, the rules of both chambers are designed to act as the engine for that process. Each legislative body has its own leadership positions to oversee this legislative process. To the novice, whether a newly elected representative, a lawmaker’s staff on her first day at work, or a constituent visiting Washington, the entire process can seem incomprehensible. What is an open rule for a House Appropriations bill and how does it affect consideration? Why are unanimous consent agreements needed in the Senate? The authors of Inside Congress, all congressional veterans, have written the definitive guide to how Congress really works. It is the accessible and necessary resource to understanding and interpreting procedural tools, arcane precedents, and the role of party politics in the making of legislation in Congress.

Election Meltdown

Author : Richard L. Hasen

ISBN10 : 0300252862

Publisher : Yale University Press

Number of Pages : 208

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 1156

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Book Summary: From the nation’s leading expert, an indispensable analysis of key threats to the integrity of the 2020 American presidential election As the 2020 presidential campaign begins to take shape, there is widespread distrust of the fairness and accuracy of American elections. In this timely and accessible book, Richard L. Hasen uses riveting stories illustrating four factors increasing the mistrust. Voter suppression has escalated as a Republican tool aimed to depress turnout of likely Democratic voters, fueling suspicion. Pockets of incompetence in election administration, often in large cities controlled by Democrats, have created an opening to claims of unfairness. Old-fashioned and new-fangled dirty tricks, including foreign and domestic misinformation campaigns via social media, threaten electoral integrity. Inflammatory rhetoric about “stolen” elections supercharges distrust among hardcore partisans. Taking into account how each of these threats has manifested in recent years—most notably in the 2016 and 2018 elections—Hasen offers concrete steps that need to be taken to restore trust in American elections before the democratic process is completely undermined.

Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America

Author : James Poniewozik

ISBN10 : 1631494430

Publisher : Liveright Publishing

Number of Pages : 304

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 654

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Book Summary: One of the Top 10 Politics and Current Events Books of Fall 2019 (Publishers Weekly) An incisive cultural history that captures a fractious nation through the prism of television and the rattled mind of a celebrity president. Television has entertained America, television has ensorcelled America, and with the election of Donald J. Trump, television has conquered America. In Audience of One, New York Times chief television critic James Poniewozik traces the history of TV and mass media from the Reagan era to today, explaining how a volcanic, camera-hogging antihero merged with America’s most powerful medium to become our forty-fifth president. In the tradition of Neil Postman’s masterpiece Amusing Ourselves to Death, Audience of One shows how American media have shaped American society and politics, by interweaving two crucial stories. The first story follows the evolution of television from the three-network era of the 20th century, which joined millions of Americans in a shared monoculture, into today’s zillion-channel, Internet-atomized universe, which sliced and diced them into fractious, alienated subcultures. The second story is a cultural critique of Donald Trump, the chameleonic celebrity who courted fame, achieved a mind-meld with the media beast, and rode it to ultimate power. Braiding together these disparate threads, Poniewozik combines a cultural history of modern America with a revelatory portrait of the most public American who has ever lived. Reaching back to the 1940s, when Trump and commercial television were born, Poniewozik illustrates how Donald became “a character that wrote itself, a brand mascot that jumped off the cereal box and entered the world, a simulacrum that replaced the thing it represented.” Viscerally attuned to the media, Trump shape-shifted into a boastful tabloid playboy in the 1980s; a self-parodic sitcom fixture in the 1990s; a reality-TV “You’re Fired” machine in the 2000s; and finally, the biggest role of his career, a Fox News–obsessed, Twitter-mad, culture-warring demagogue in the White House. Poniewozik deconstructs the chaotic Age of Trump as the 24-hour TV production that it is, decoding an era when politics has become pop culture, and vice versa. Trenchant and often slyly hilarious, Audience of One is a penetrating and sobering review of the raucous, raging, farcical reality show—performed for the benefit of an insomniac, cable-news-junkie “audience of one”—that we all came to live in, whether we liked it or not.

The Liar's Dictionary

Author : Eley Williams

ISBN10 : 0735281505

Publisher : Knopf Canada

Number of Pages : 288

Category : Fiction

Viewed : 1922

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Book Summary: An exhilarating, clever, funny debut novel from a prize-winning talent, chronicling the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman who decodes his trail of made-up words a century later. Will enthrall readers of CS Richardson, Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Mountweazel (n.), the phenomenon of false entries within dictionaries and works of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement. In the final year of the nineteenth century, Peter Winceworth is toiling away at the letter S for Swansby’s multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Increasingly uneasy that his colleagues are attempting to corral language and regiment facts, Winceworth feels compelled to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom, and begins inserting unauthorized, fictitious entries into the dictionary. In the present day, Mallory, a young intern employed by the publisher, must uncover these mountweazels before the work is digitized for modern readers. Through the words and their definitions, she begins to sense their creator’s motivations, hopes and desires. More pressingly, she also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Is the change in the definition of marriage (n.) really that controversial? And does the caller truly intend for the Swansby’s staff to “burn in hell”? As these two narratives combine, Winceworth and Mallory, separated by one hundred years, must discover how to negotiate the complexities of the often untrustworthy, hoax-strewn and undefinable path we call life. An exhilarating and laugh-out-loud debut, The Liar’s Dictionary celebrates the rigidity, fragility, absurdity and joy of language while peering into questions of identity and finding one’s place in the world.

If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved

Author : Michael Tomasky

ISBN10 : 1631494090

Publisher : Liveright Publishing

Number of Pages : 288

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 743

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Book Summary: A game-changing account of the deep roots of political polarization in America, including an audacious fourteen-point agenda for how to fix it. Why has American politics fallen into such a state of horrible dysfunction? Can it ever be fixed? These are the questions that motivate Michael Tomasky’s deeply original examination into the origins of our hopelessly polarized nation. “One of America’s finest political commentators” (Michael J. Sandel), Tomasky ranges across centuries and disciplines to show how America has almost always had two dominant parties that are existentially, and often violently, opposed. When he turns to our current era, he does so with striking insight that will challenge readers to reexamine what they thought they knew. Finally, not content merely to diagnose these problems, Tomasky offers a provocative agenda for how we can help fix our broken political system—from ranked-choice voting and at-large congressional elections to expanding high school civics education nationwide. Combining revelatory data with trenchant analysis, Tomasky tells us how the nation broke apart and points us toward a more hopeful political future.

Nixonland

Author : Rick Perlstein

ISBN10 : 9781451606263

Publisher : Simon and Schuster

Number of Pages : 896

Category : History

Viewed : 742

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Book Summary: An exciting e-format containing 27 video clips taken directly from the CBS news archive of a brilliant, best-selling account of the Nixon era by one of America’s most talented young historians. Between 1965 and 1972 America experienced a second civil war. Out of its ashes, the political world we know today was born. Nixonland begins in the blood and fire of the Watts riots-one week after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, and nine months after his historic landslide victory over Barry Goldwater seemed to have heralded a permanent liberal consensus. The next year scores of liberals were thrown out of Congress, America was more divided than ever-and a disgraced politician was on his way to a shocking comeback: Richard Nixon. Six years later, President Nixon, harvesting the bitterness and resentment borne of that blood and fire, was reelected in a landslide even bigger than Johnson's, and the outlines of today's politics of red-and-blue division became already distinct. Cataclysms tell the story of Nixonland: • Angry blacks burning down their neighborhoods, while suburbanites defend home and hearth with shotguns. • The civil war over Vietnam, the assassinations, the riot at the Democratic National Convention. • Richard Nixon acceding to the presidency pledging a new dawn of national unity--and governing more divisively than any before him. • The rise of twin cultures of left- and right-wing vigilantes, Americans literally bombing and cutting each other down in the streets over political differences. •And, finally, Watergate, the fruit of a president who rose by matching his own anxieties and dreads with those of an increasingly frightened electorate--but whose anxieties and dreads produced a criminal conspiracy in the Oval Office.

The Audacity of Hope

Author : Barack Obama

ISBN10 : 0307382095

Publisher : Crown

Number of Pages : 384

Category : Biography & Autobiography

Viewed : 1767

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Book Summary: #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Barack Obama’s lucid vision of America’s place in the world and call for a new kind of politics that builds upon our shared understandings as Americans, based on his years in the Senate “In our lowdown, dispiriting era, Obama’s talent for proposing humane, sensible solutions with uplifting, elegant prose does fill one with hope.”—Michael Kazin, The Washington Post In July 2004, four years before his presidency, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Obama called “the audacity of hope.” The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama’s call for a different brand of politics—a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces—from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media—that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment. At the heart of this book is Barack Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats—from terrorism to pandemic—that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy—where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, Obama says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes—“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”

Winner-Take-All Politics

Author : Jacob S. Hacker,Paul Pierson

ISBN10 : 1416593845

Publisher : Simon and Schuster

Number of Pages : 368

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 849

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Book Summary: A groundbreaking work that identifies the real culprit behind one of the great economic crimes of our time— the growing inequality of incomes between the vast majority of Americans and the richest of the rich. We all know that the very rich have gotten a lot richer these past few decades while most Americans haven’t. In fact, the exorbitantly paid have continued to thrive during the current economic crisis, even as the rest of Americans have continued to fall behind. Why do the “haveit- alls” have so much more? And how have they managed to restructure the economy to reap the lion’s share of the gains and shift the costs of their new economic playground downward, tearing new holes in the safety net and saddling all of us with increased debt and risk? Lots of so-called experts claim to have solved this great mystery, but no one has really gotten to the bottom of it—until now. In their lively and provocative Winner-Take-All Politics, renowned political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson demonstrate convincingly that the usual suspects—foreign trade and financial globalization, technological changes in the workplace, increased education at the top—are largely innocent of the charges against them. Instead, they indict an unlikely suspect and take us on an entertaining tour of the mountain of evidence against the culprit. The guilty party is American politics. Runaway inequality and the present economic crisis reflect what government has done to aid the rich and what it has not done to safeguard the interests of the middle class. The winner-take-all economy is primarily a result of winner-take-all politics. In an innovative historical departure, Hacker and Pierson trace the rise of the winner-take-all economy back to the late 1970s when, under a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, a major transformation of American politics occurred. With big business and conservative ideologues organizing themselves to undo the regulations and progressive tax policies that had helped ensure a fair distribution of economic rewards, deregulation got under way, taxes were cut for the wealthiest, and business decisively defeated labor in Washington. And this transformation continued under Reagan and the Bushes as well as under Clinton, with both parties catering to the interests of those at the very top. Hacker and Pierson’s gripping narration of the epic battles waged during President Obama’s first two years in office reveals an unpleasant but catalyzing truth: winner-take-all politics, while under challenge, is still very much with us. Winner-Take-All Politics—part revelatory history, part political analysis, part intellectual journey— shows how a political system that traditionally has been responsive to the interests of the middle class has been hijacked by the superrich. In doing so, it not only changes how we think about American politics, but also points the way to rebuilding a democracy that serves the interests of the many rather than just those of the wealthy few.

The Big Sort

Author : Bill Bishop

ISBN10 : 0547525192

Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Number of Pages : 396

Category : Social Science

Viewed : 1888

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Book Summary: The award-winning journalist reveals the untold story of why America is so culturally and politically divided in this groundbreaking book. Armed with startling demographic data, Bill Bishop demonstrates how Americans have spent decades sorting themselves into alarmingly homogeneous communities—not by region or by state, but by city and neighborhood. With ever-increasing specificity, we choose the communities and media that are compatible with our lifestyles and beliefs. The result is a country that has become so ideologically inbred that people don't know and can't understand those who live just a few miles away. In The Big Sort, Bishop explores how this phenomenon came to be, and its dire implications for our country. He begins with stories about how we live today and then draws on history, economics, and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

Let the People Pick the President

Author : Jesse Wegman

ISBN10 : 1250221986

Publisher : All Points Books

Number of Pages : 272

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 1962

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Book Summary: “Wegman combines in-depth historical analysis and insight into contemporary politics to present a cogent argument that the Electoral College violates America’s ‘core democratic principles’ and should be done away with..." —Publishers Weekly The framers of the Constitution battled over it. Lawmakers have tried to amend or abolish it more than 700 times. To this day, millions of voters, and even members of Congress, misunderstand how it works. It deepens our national divide and distorts the core democratic principles of political equality and majority rule. How can we tolerate the Electoral College when every vote does not count the same, and the candidate who gets the most votes can lose? Twice in the last five elections, the Electoral College has overridden the popular vote, calling the integrity of the entire system into question—and creating a false picture of a country divided into bright red and blue blocks when in fact we are purple from coast to coast. Even when the popular-vote winner becomes president, tens of millions of Americans—Republicans and Democrats alike—find that their votes didn't matter. And, with statewide winner-take-all rules, only a handful of battleground states ultimately decide who will become president. Now, as political passions reach a boiling point at the dawn of the 2020 race, the message from the American people is clear: The way we vote for the only official whose job it is to represent all Americans is neither fair nor just. Major reform is needed—now. Isn't it time to let the people pick the president? In this thoroughly researched and engaging call to arms, Supreme Court journalist and New York Times editorial board member Jesse Wegman draws upon the history of the founding era, as well as information gleaned from campaign managers, field directors, and other officials from twenty-first-century Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, to make a powerful case for abolishing the antiquated and antidemocratic Electoral College. In Let the People Pick the President he shows how we can at long last make every vote in the United States count—and restore belief in our democratic system.

The Ten Year War

Author : Jonathan Cohn

ISBN10 : 1250270944

Publisher : St. Martin\'s Press

Number of Pages : 320

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 1548

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Book Summary: Jonathan Cohn's The Ten Year War is the definitive account of the battle over Obamacare, based on interviews with sources who were in the room, from one of the nation's foremost healthcare journalists. The Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” was the most sweeping and consequential piece of legislation of the last half century. It has touched nearly every American in one way or another, for better or worse, and become the defining political fight of our time. In The Ten Year War, veteran journalist Jonathan Cohn offers the compelling, authoritative history of how the law came to be, why it looks like it does, and what it’s meant for average Americans. Drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews, plus private diaries, emails and memos, The Ten Year War takes readers to Capitol Hill and to town hall meetings, inside the West Wing and, eventually, into Trump Tower, as the nation's most powerful leaders try to reconcile pragmatism and idealism, self-interest and the public good, and ultimately two very different visions for what the country should look like. At the heart of the book is the decades-old argument over what’s wrong with American health care and how to fix it. But the battle over healthcare was always about more than policy. The Ten Year War offers a deeper examination of how our governing institutions, the media and the two parties have evolved, and the dysfunction those changes have left in their wake.

Why We're Polarized

Author : Ezra Klein

ISBN10 : 1476700397

Publisher : Simon and Schuster

Number of Pages : 336

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 345

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Book Summary: This New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller shows us that America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed. In this “superbly researched” (The Washington Post) and timely 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.” “A thoughtful, clear and persuasive analysis” (The New York Times Book Review), Why We’re Polarized 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 20th 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. “Well worth reading” (New York magazine), this is an “eye-opening” (O, The Oprah Magazine) book that will change how you look at politics—and perhaps at yourself.

Four Threats

Author : Suzanne Mettler,Robert C. Lieberman

ISBN10 : 1250244439

Publisher : St. Martin\'s Press

Number of Pages : 304

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 1580

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Book Summary: An urgent, historically-grounded take on the four major factors that undermine American democracy, and what we can do to address them. While many Americans despair of the current state of U.S. politics, most assume that our system of government and democracy itself are invulnerable to decay. Yet when we examine the past, we find that the United States has undergone repeated crises of democracy, from the earliest days of the republic to the present. In Four Threats, Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. Lieberman explore five moments in history when democracy in the U.S. was under siege: the 1790s, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Depression, and Watergate. These episodes risked profound—even fatal—damage to the American democratic experiment. From this history, four distinct characteristics of disruption emerge. Political polarization, racism and nativism, economic inequality, and excessive executive power—alone or in combination—have threatened the survival of the republic, but it has survived—so far. What is unique, and alarming, about the present moment in American politics is that all four conditions exist. This convergence marks the contemporary era as a grave moment for democracy. But history provides a valuable repository from which we can draw lessons about how democracy was eventually strengthened—or weakened—in the past. By revisiting how earlier generations of Americans faced threats to the principles enshrined in the Constitution, we can see the promise and the peril that have led us to today and chart a path toward repairing our civic fabric and renewing democracy.

On Corruption in America

Author : Sarah Chayes

ISBN10 : 0525654860

Publisher : Knopf

Number of Pages : 432

Category : Political Science

Viewed : 1045

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Book Summary: From the prizewinning journalist, internationally recognized expert on corruption in government networks throughout the world, author of Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security ("I can't imagine a more important book for our time,"--Sebastian Junger; "Required reading,"--Tom Friedman; "compelling, fascinating . . . a call to action,"--The Huffington Post), a major, unflinching book that looks homeward to America, exploring the insidious, dangerous networks of corruption of our past, present, and precarious future. Now, bringing to bear all of her knowledge, grasp, sense of history and observation, Sarah Chayes writes in her new book, that the United States is showing signs similar to some of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption, as Chayes sees it, is an operating system of sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out-and-out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public but to maximize returns for network members. From the titans of America's Gilded Age (Carnegie, Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, et al.) to the collapse of the stock market in 1929, the Great Depression and FDR's New Deal; from Joe Kennedy's years of banking, bootlegging, machine politics, and pursuit of infinite wealth, as well as the Kennedy presidency, to the deregulation of the Reagan Revolution, undermining the middle class and the unions; from the Clinton policies of political favors and personal enrichment to Trump's hydra-headed network of corruption, systematically undoing the Constitution and our laws, Chayes shows how corrupt systems are organized, how they enforce the rules so their crimes are covered legally, how they are overlooked and downplayed--shrugged off with a roll of the eyes--by the richer and better educated, how they become an overt principle determining the shape of our government, affecting all levels of society.

Exceptions to the Rule

Author : Molly E. Reynolds

ISBN10 : 0815729979

Publisher : Brookings Institution Press

Number of Pages : 233

Category : Political Science

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Book Summary: Special rules enable the Senate to act despite the filibuster. Sometimes. Most people believe that, in today's partisan environment, the filibuster prevents the Senate from acting on all but the least controversial matters. But this is not exactly correct. In fact, the Senate since the 1970s has created a series of special rules—described by Molly Reynolds as “majoritarian exceptions”—that limit debate on a wide range of measures on the Senate floor. The details of these exemptions might sound arcane and technical, but in practice they have enabled the Senate to act even when it otherwise seemed paralyzed. Important examples include procedures used to pass the annual congressional budget resolution, enact budget reconciliation bills, review proposals to close military bases, attempt to prevent arms sales, ratify trade agreements, and reconsider regulations promulgated by the executive branch. Reynolds argues that these procedures represent a key instrument of majority party power in the Senate. They allow the majority—even if it does not have the sixty votes needed to block a filibuster—to produce policies that will improve its future electoral prospects, and thus increase the chances it remains the majority party. As a case study, Exceptions to the Rule examines the Senate's role in the budget reconciliation process, in which particular congressional committees are charged with developing procedurally protected proposals to alter certain federal programs in their jurisdictions. Created as a way of helping Congress work through tricky budget issues, the reconciliation process has become a powerful tool for the majority party to bypass the minority and adopt policy changes in hopes that it will benefit in the next election cycle.