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WEAPONS OF MASS DELUSION by Robert Draper Kirkus Star


When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind

by Robert Draper

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 2022
ISBN: 9780593300145
Publisher: Penguin Press

An engrossing and disturbing examination of the conspiracy theories leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and the right-wing lawmakers who gleefully perpetuated them.

Journalist Draper has interviewed many of the protagonists floating the baseless theories that, as election-denier Marjorie Taylor Greene believes, “their once‐great country [is] under assault from within.” The author digs deep into the “big lie” and how conservative conspiracy theories took root and began to run rampant during the Obama administration—questioning the former president’s birthplace and demonizing Hillary Clinton—all in an effort to obstruct any Democratic progress in Congress. Draper considers many important strands in the story, including “enabler” Kevin McCarthy’s raw ambition and transactional relationships on Capitol Hill; how Greene tapped into the right-wing hysteria in her Georgia district and effectively rode former President Donald Trump’s coattails; and the vast network of absurd QAnon conspiracy theories: a pizza-parlor sex-trafficking operation, the importance of fighting against the work of George Soros, the idea of a complicit, “mockingbird” media, and the cheerleading role played by Alex Jones and InfoWars. As the author shows, Paul Gosar, a Republican congressman and dentist whose district in Arizona is one of the most conservative in America, became the first and most vociferous of the “Stop the Steal” election deniers, while Greene spent months vilifying Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Biden administration’s attempts to mitigate the disastrous effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Draper also explores Liz Cheney’s defiance of McCarthy and MAGA extremism, especially her view that the second impeachment trial represents a dangerous missed opportunity for Republicans to move past Trump once and for all. In a timely and politically astute narrative written before the midterm elections, Draper suggests that voters have grown tired of the “arc of the crazy”—a view borne out by the election results.

An important investigation into the radicalization of far-right American lawmakers.