Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of

Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality Does as good a job of any book I ve read at connecting the dots in recent political history around the rise of the Right in the Republican Party Hacker and Pierson trace its source to the growth of inequality combined with the rising unpopularity of policies that further that inequality To maintain political viability even while embracing the needs of the plutocracy, the party increasingly turned to a politics of resentment and racialization as well as policies that limit democratic control, i Does as good a job of any book I ve read at connecting the dots in recent political history around the rise of the Right in the Republican Party Hacker and Pierson trace its source to the growth of inequality combined with the rising unpopularity of policies that further that inequality To maintain political viability even while embracing the needs of the plutocracy, the party increasingly turned to a politics of resentment and racialization as well as policies that limit democratic control, including by taking advantage of weaknesses in our political system role of Senate, electoral college, gerrymandering, power of courts Trump, they correctly argue, is not an aberration but an extension of a strategy that is decades in the making The book is especially interesting in the role of extra party institutions in organizing outrage the NRA, evangelical Right, conservative media and pushing the party to support plutocracy Koch networks, US Chamber Installment number 523,978 In the collective liberal lament at how bad the world is and how unfair it is This book engages regularly in what I m going to call in appeal to democracy where the author states some thing that the conservatives or Republicans are doing and then says that it threatens democracy Whether it actually threatens democracy or not is irrelevant, As with many lazy rhetorical devices, the fact that it was said by the author is sufficient proof It also provides a suffic Installment number 523,978 In the collective liberal lament at how bad the world is and how unfair it is This book engages regularly in what I m going to call in appeal to democracy where the author states some thing that the conservatives or Republicans are doing and then says that it threatens democracy Whether it actually threatens democracy or not is irrelevant, As with many lazy rhetorical devices, the fact that it was said by the author is sufficient proof It also provides a sufficient bogeyman to write against.Without being too pedantic, I ve always gotten a chuckle out of the actual labels of our two American parties Democrats appeal to democracy, something that the United States is not and has never been It s a beautiful idea, representing a hopeful future or idealistic ultimate Republicans on the other hand speak to what is and what has been, the little republic that could Pragmatic to their core, the noblest I deal of Republicans for so long, pre Reagan, where to be the practical adults in the room The Sandra Day O Connor Republicans are in ethos I definitely agree with Now these books contention is that we ve moved away from those ideals Anyone with half a working eyeball and a third of a working brain cell would probably agree But their reasoning as to the causes likely differ a wildly Big scary corporate money TM , has resulted in a populist plutocracy A fine contention if there were any evidence in this book to back it up.The problem with this book is that it s just hackey The author claims that income inequality in United States is the largest in the world, but apparently is never heard of South America, or Africa, or Asia Tellingly enough the whole world involves Europe and North America Possibly Antarctica I m not sure how the income inequality is there Not a lot of hard hitting income studies coming out of the Antarctic Economic Forum Essentially the author ignores a lot of facts and creates what is a several hundred page opEd about how tough it is to be a well educated liberal Done well I think this book is a banger I m practically giddy with excitement to read Thomas Piketty s Capital and Ideology at some point in the next five years But this book ain t it So after grossly miss characterizing several fundamental assumptions about the world and how it works the author proceeds to come to emotional conclusions about how bad things are and OMG isn t it terrible I don t actually know because I stopped reading Life is too short to bother with this There was a beautiful sunset tonight I spent some time paying attention to that instead The Republican Party appears to be divided between a tax cutting old guard and a white nationalist vanguard and with Donald Trump s ascendance, the upstarts seem to be winning Yet how are we to explain that, under Trump, the plutocrats have gotten almost everything they want, including a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, regulation killing executive actions, and a legion of business friendly federal judges Does the GOP represent forgotten Americans Or does it represent the superrich In Let Them Eat Tweets, best selling political scientists Jacob S Hacker and Paul Pierson offer a definitive answer the Republican Party serves its plutocratic masters to a degree without precedent in modern global history Conservative parties, by their nature, almost always side with the rich But when faced with popular resistance, they usually make concessions, allowing some policies that benefit the working and middle classes After all, how can a political party maintain power in a democracy if it serves only the interests of a narrow and wealthy slice of society Today s Republicans have shown the way, doubling down on a truly radical, elite benefiting economic agenda while at the same time making increasingly incendiary racial and cultural appeals to their almost entirely white base Telling a forty year story, Hacker and Pierson demonstrate that since the early s, when inequality started spiking, extreme tax cutting, union busting, and deregulation have gone hand in hand with extreme race baiting, outrage stoking, and disinformation Instead of responding to the real challenges facing voters, the Republican Party offers division and distraction most prominently, in the racist, nativist bile of the president s Twitter feedAs Hacker and Pierson argue, Trump isn t a break with the GOP s recent past On the contrary, he embodies its tightening embrace of plutocracy and right wing extremism a dynamic Hacker and Pierson call plutocratic populism As Trump and his far right allies spew hatred and lies, Republicans in Congress and in statehouses attack social programs and funnel and money to the toppercent of Americans Far from being at war with each other, 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 AmericansDrawing on decades of research, Hacker and Pierson authoritatively explain the doom loop of tax cutting and fearmongering that characterizes our era and reveal how we can fight back The title, Let Them Eat Tweets, was clever and I am interested in the shift towards plutocracy, so I figured this might be an interesting read for me.Most of the information wasn t presented directly, or even chronologically, but instead scattered between a lot of repetitive text which used different phrases to say the exact same thing A quick read, it didn t take me very long from start to finish It reminds me of reading a college paper with a minimum word requirement the author seemed to ad The title, Let Them Eat Tweets, was clever and I am interested in the shift towards plutocracy, so I figured this might be an interesting read for me.Most of the information wasn t presented directly, or even chronologically, but instead scattered between a lot of repetitive text which used different phrases to say the exact same thing A quick read, it didn t take me very long from start to finish It reminds me of reading a college paper with a minimum word requirement the author seemed to add a lot of word padding to make it longer I would have enjoyed the bookhad the information been succinctly presented Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review Jacob and Paul deserve 5 stars for this book, which catalogues what should be common knowledge in America, but isn t Namely, that the Republican party as the Conservative party are fascists willing to overthrow democracy in the United States I m pursuit of the power and transfer of wealth to the wealthy They deserve 4 stars for the thoroughness of their argument and one star for it s importance The thoroughness comes in the detailing of how the Republicans, facing the Conservative Dilemm Jacob and Paul deserve 5 stars for this book, which catalogues what should be common knowledge in America, but isn t Namely, that the Republican party as the Conservative party are fascists willing to overthrow democracy in the United States I m pursuit of the power and transfer of wealth to the wealthy They deserve 4 stars for the thoroughness of their argument and one star for it s importance The thoroughness comes in the detailing of how the Republicans, facing the Conservative Dilemma slavish attachment to unpopular economic policies stoke outrage and embrace white identity politics in order to manipulate voters to win elections that Republicans have increasingly rigged in order to heap wealth on themselves and their donors at the cost of the middle and lower classes The book seeks to correct a huge, indefensible omission in their previous works like their otherwise awesome book, American Amnesia and that it is the degree to which racism motivates Republicans and their old, white male base to consider themselves above democracy and better than their fellow citizens The authors make a little too much of Republican use of racialization, the use of seemingly non racial terms to convey racist sentiments It is interesting, but hairsplitting Whether deployed as a strategy, tactic or a belief system, it is still plain, old, ugly racism know matter how it is package.There are at least two elements that are missing The first is the story of how and why the Democratic Party so thoroughly abandoned labor to it s enemies This is not central to the Conservative Dilemma telling and there are a few moments when light falls on the Democrats in the book More here would be good A second missing element is a n a moral one The authors fail to call out how conservative policies seek to create or perpetuate systems of exploitation Republican politicians and their donors form a small, powerful group who seek policies that actively allow them to profit from exploiting others think not just tax policy, but environmental, labor, consumer protection, collective bargaining, etc This groups outstanding feature is it s psychopathology Individuals self described makers who have the hubris to claim responsibility for the status and wealthy that inheritance and luck have given them, but refuse to take responsibility for the harm that they cause millions of others Call it the original sin of the two Freds Fred Koch and Fred Trump the raising of a psychopathic cabal May the lot of them the Paul Ryans and Mitch McConnells along with the Trumps rot in hell with David Koch for their active pursuit of the misery of the masses.Our society needs a moral reckoning as much as our democracy needs a political one The transformation of the GOP into a plutocracy that does little to help most of its constituents Although a slightly different take than Dark Money and The Fifth Risk, the book provoked the same response from me utter depression. Republicans in the US rule using the three R s resentment, racialization and rigging, combined with policies friendly to the super rich plutocracy Resentment is the key deep perceptions of unfairness and indignation at fellow citizens who they think others are eating their share of the pie Partners such as the Christian Right and Fox News encourage and foment this dislike, steering it towards immigrants, people of color, gays and lesbians They do this without mentioning that the real pigs a Republicans in the US rule using the three R s resentment, racialization and rigging, combined with policies friendly to the super rich plutocracy Resentment is the key deep perceptions of unfairness and indignation at fellow citizens who they think others are eating their share of the pie Partners such as the Christian Right and Fox News encourage and foment this dislike, steering it towards immigrants, people of color, gays and lesbians They do this without mentioning that the real pigs at the trough are the plutocrats getting their tax cuts, and slashing social programs to pay for them Indeed the extreme pro plutocrat slant worsens the social conditions for most voters, making them evenresentful Racialization is related to this, drawing on the deep US history of slavery, reconstruction, apartheid, and pseudoscience on racial inferiority Since these are increasingly minority views, the third plank of vote rigging is needed This weaponizes elements of the constitution overrepresentation of rural white voters in electoral college and senate elections, separation of powers by aggressive gerrymandering in Republican controlled states, and appointments of extreme, right wing judges.This successful ruling strategy has been crafted over a long period, starting in the 1980s Trump is just the latest manifestation One aspect that needs further thought is the authors labeling of this approach as pro business While there are elements of this, there is also another side For example, support to fossil fuel business the Koch family is a major supporter is arguably preventing the realignment to renewable energy, and could be turning US companies into zombie, uncompetitive businesses by undermining the forces of creative destruction at the heart of strong capitalist economies Another aspect that could be developed in a future edition is how the framework helps explain the unique US response to COVID 19 The assets of plutocrats and other wealthy investors are clost to all time highs following massive pump priming from the Fed and Treasury The lack of a coherent response to the pandemic, combined with willful ignoring of health guidance, fuels massive spikes in infections Communities of blacks and people of color are hit particularly hard by disease and job losses They protest, along with sympathizers, and some protests become violent This violence is exacerbated as federal forces are sent in, and the riots are weaponized by Fox news and other outlets to feed into the rage and racism of the republican base of rural white men Rigged voting is highly likely in the chaotic, pandemic setting Let Them Eat Tweets is an intentionally political divisive book I am only concerned because the non rich Republican voter who needs to read the facts within the book will skip it based on the title or quickly judge it as fake news Essentially, the book is preaching to its own, democratic, choir.And the choir, which includes me, already knows these things just from being alive at this time Someone needs to press home a simple truth Watch what Trump does not what he says His actions do truly Let Them Eat Tweets is an intentionally political divisive book I am only concerned because the non rich Republican voter who needs to read the facts within the book will skip it based on the title or quickly judge it as fake news Essentially, the book is preaching to its own, democratic, choir.And the choir, which includes me, already knows these things just from being alive at this time Someone needs to press home a simple truth Watch what Trump does not what he says His actions do truly contradict his rhetoric Making America Great Again is a fantastic sloganbut what has he done to achieve that for anyone but himself and his rich friends Not much, if anything His plan is brilliant in its simplicity Deny everything and, if the truth comes out, call it fake news I better get off my soapbox and get back to the review.If you are a Democrat or a never Trump Republican, Let Them Eat Tweets will validate your views If you are a Trumper, you aren t reading this review or the book but instead blasting me as a fool in the comments That s fine We can agree to disagree Because of the tone of the book, in my eyes at least, is not hitting the correct audience, 3 stars.Thanks to Liveright, W.W Norton Company, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review A succinct, if repetitive, look at the strangeness of America s political moment, dominated by what the co authors call plutocratic populism, a system in which the Republican establishment pairs unpopular austerity policies with nativist, racist appeals to an ever shrinking white base The book considers how conservative elites in Western societies have maintained minority rule across the centuries, and marvels at the fact they ve allowed for so few concessions in America over the past four deca A succinct, if repetitive, look at the strangeness of America s political moment, dominated by what the co authors call plutocratic populism, a system in which the Republican establishment pairs unpopular austerity policies with nativist, racist appeals to an ever shrinking white base The book considers how conservative elites in Western societies have maintained minority rule across the centuries, and marvels at the fact they ve allowed for so few concessions in America over the past four decades while still maintaining tight control over the government The analysis can be shallow and short on solutions, but raises some interesting points I received my undergraduate degree in English and political science, so I m pretty much a policy wonk and a student of political history Even so, authors Jacob S Hacker and Paul Pierson taught me so much in Let Them Eat Tweets How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality Other books have detailed how we got to this dystopian moment where we have 123,000 preventable deaths and counting and face an economic downtown that could surpass that the Great Depression What Hacker and Pier I received my undergraduate degree in English and political science, so I m pretty much a policy wonk and a student of political history Even so, authors Jacob S Hacker and Paul Pierson taught me so much in Let Them Eat Tweets How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality Other books have detailed how we got to this dystopian moment where we have 123,000 preventable deaths and counting and face an economic downtown that could surpass that the Great Depression What Hacker and Pierson lay out in this meticulously researched book is that the racism isn t a bug, but a feature, connecting Trumpism with other far right, authoritarian movements backthan a century Hacker and Pierson also draw attention to the off ramps that the Republican Party declined to take that pushed it farther and farther into thralldom to the 0.1% and their extremely unpopular positions The message is that extreme inequality requires moderation if democracy is to survive however, time and again, plutocrats have poured money into divisive racist and anti Semitic campaigns to replace democracy with authoritarianism in order to keep power and extreme wealth Even if you ve read Jane Mayer s Dark Money The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right and Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt s How Democracies Die What History Reveals About Our Future, Let Them Eat Tweets How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality is an absolute must read in these dangerous times In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and W.W Norton Co in exchange for an honest review


About the Author: Jacob S. Hacker

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