A caustically funny, outraged, and deadly serious analysis.

RUNNING AGAINST THE DEVIL

A PLOT TO SAVE AMERICA FROM TRUMP—AND DEMOCRATS FROM THEMSELVES

A wily Republican strategist rings in on the challenge facing Democrats in 2020.

Political campaign consultant Wilson (Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, 2018), who airs his views in a variety of venues, intensifies his strident excoriation of Trump with a hard-hitting assessment of Democrats’ chances of winning the next presidential election—a victory that is crucial for saving the country. The author decries Trump as “a flawed, awful shitbird of the worst order” and a “political and moral monster” who will go down in history “for endemic corruption, outrageous stupidity, egregious cruelty, and inhumanity” and who has spread “moral and political contagion” and caused the collapse “of a once-great party.” Trump needs to go, but Wilson fears that Democrats will hand him reelection unless they focus on 15 states critical for an Electoral College win. “You’re not really running a national campaign,” he insists. “You’re running fifteen state campaigns.” After many chapters of “robust and richly deserved Trump-bashing,” the author turns to strategy, cautioning Democrats against focusing on policy. Instead, they need to attack Trump’s actions—e.g., a trade war that victimizes farmers, cruelty and brutality toward immigrant children, unrepentant racism—and personal failings to make their case to voters who can still be swayed: “the large and growing cohort of Republican women who broke away from the GOP, and the white, Democratic men who broke for Trump in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida.” These voters want a moderate; they are not youthful progressives, who, Wilson asserts, won’t win Democrats the states they need. The author suggests talking points about abortion, guns, immigration, tax cuts, judges, and socialism. He warns Democrats of the threat of a third party run and underscores the importance of “a real modern, data-driven campaign” and deployment of surrogates, such as the Obamas. He offers a state-by-state game plan, homing in on pertinent issues and recommending liberal spending on targeted ads. Democrats can win, Wilson maintains; but will they?

A caustically funny, outraged, and deadly serious analysis.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13758-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown Forum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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