Reading Into Trump and the Republican Regime

Just a few books that are mostly very current and have been widely recommended. I like about 80% of them. You will too. Probably a different 80%, though.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President

This is not normal.

Since the start of Donald Trump’s presidential run, one question has quietly but urgently permeated the observations of concerned citizens: What is wrong with him? Constrained by the American Psychiatric Association’s “Goldwater rule,” which inhibits mental health professionals from diagnosing public figures they have not personally examined, many of those qualified to answer this question have shied away from discussing the issue at all. The public has thus been left to wonder whether he is mad, bad, or both.

In THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP, twenty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health experts argue that, in Mr. Trump’s case, their moral and civic “duty to warn” America supersedes professional neutrality. They then explore Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses to find a complex, if also dangerously mad, man.

Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword, for instance, explain Trump’s impulsivity in terms of “unbridled and extreme present hedonism.” Craig Malkin writes on pathological narcissism and politics as a lethal mix. Gail Sheehy, on a lack of trust that exceeds paranoia. Lance Dodes, on sociopathy. Robert Jay Lifton, on the “malignant normality” that can set in everyday life if psychiatrists do not speak up.

His madness is catching, too. From the trauma people have experienced under the Trump administration to the cult-like characteristics of his followers, he has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond.

It’s not all in our heads. It’s in his.

Mike Pence: A Clear & Present Danger

He stands in the shadows. When he speaks, he does so in slow, measured tones while endless repeating his talking points. Many people know very little about Vice President Mike Pence, but he might be the greatest threat to American democracy precisely because few people know his views. Learn Pence’s positions on such topics as evolution, women’s health, fetal stem cell research, LGBT rights, global warming, and smoking. Learn why many women still send Pence reports on their monthly menstrual cycles. This book explores Pence’s key votes as one of the seven most conservative members of the House of Representatives as well as his time as Governor of Indiana. Included in addition to analysis are the texts of several Pence speeches including his speech about evolution that he gave on the floor of the House of Representatives. Learn how conservatives could use the 25th amendment to make Mike Pence president and what that could mean for America.

How the Right Lost Its Mind

Once at the center of the American conservative movement, bestselling author and radio host Charles Sykes is a fierce opponent of Donald Trump and the right-wing media that enabled his rise.

In How the Right Lost Its Mind, Sykes presents an impassioned, regretful, and deeply thoughtful account of how the American conservative movement came to lose its values. How did a movement that was defined by its belief in limited government, individual liberty, free markets, traditional values, and civility find itself embracing bigotry, political intransigence, demagoguery, and outright falsehood? How the Right Lost its Mind addresses:
*Why are so many voters so credulous and immune to factual information reported by responsible media?
*Why did conservatives decide to overlook, even embrace, so many of Trump’s outrages, gaffes, conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and smears?
*Can conservatives govern? Or are they content merely to rage?
*How can the right recover its traditional values and persuade a new generation of their worth?

What Happened

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet—the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future.

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath—both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.

Trump’s Brain: An FBI Profile of Donald Trump: Predicting Trump’s Actions and Presidency

This is an unofficial FBI profile of Donald Trump that lists the likely actions he will take over the next four years. FBI profiling is used to predict actions based on a pattern of behavior. This book uses FBI techniques to clearly list Donald Trumps likely actions as president. Learn what his domestic and foreign policies will be, what will happen with the economy, and which country we are most likely to go to war with. Learn how FBI profiling works and how to use it to predict other people’s behavior, including Donald Trump. This is a non-partisan examination of Donald Trump. It is neither “pro” nor “anti” Trump. It is meant as an FBI-like psychological profile that predicts the likely actions of President Trump.

Trump: Anatomy of a Monstrosity

This is the ultimate book for understanding what Donald Trump’s election means for the United States and the world. Much more than just a book about Trump himself, it is about the forces that led to his existence, and it is a guide for how to create a Trumpless world. Anatomy of a Monstrosity looks closely at why progressives failed to stop his election, and develops a series of proposals for how ordinary people can fight back against Trumpism and win. Carefully sourced, comprehensive, witty, and biting, Trump: Anatomy of a Monstrosity is the single book everyone opposed to Trump should read.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In these “urgently relevant essays,”* the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me “reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency and its jarring aftermath”*—including the election of Donald Trump.

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the agenda of this powerful group.

In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump’s victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.

Why is America living in an age of profound and widening economic inequality? Why have even modest attempts to address climate change been defeated again and again? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? In a riveting and indelible feat of reporting, Jane Mayer illuminates the history of an elite cadre of plutocrats—headed by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys—who have bankrolled a systematic plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Mayer traces a byzantine trail of billions of dollars spent by the network, revealing a staggering conglomeration of think tanks, academic institutions, media groups, courthouses, and government allies that have fallen under their sphere of influence. Drawing from hundreds of exclusive interviews, as well as extensive scrutiny of public records, private papers, and court proceedings, Mayer provides vivid portraits of the secretive figures behind the new American oligarchy and a searing look at the carefully concealed agendas steering the nation. Dark Money is an essential book for anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

Hailed as “the most prescient book” of the year, Listen, Liberal accurately described what ailed the Democratic Party even before the election of 2016 made their weaknesses obvious. It is the story of how the “Party of the People” detached itself from its historic constituency among average Americans and chose instead to line up with the winners of our new economic order.

Now with a new afterword, Thomas Frank’s powerful analysis offers the best diagnosis to date of the liberal malady. Drawing on years of research and firsthand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have over the last decades increasingly abandoned their traditional goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. With sardonic wit and lacerating logic, he uncovers the corporate and cultural elitism that have largely eclipsed the party’s old working- and middle-class commitment. And he warns that the Democrats’ only chance of regaining their health and averting a future of ever-increasing inequality is a return to their historic faith.

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History

Called “disgraceful,” “third-rate,” and “not nice” by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on—and took flak from—the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history.

Katy Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry shampoo. She visited forty states with the candidate, made more than 3,800 live television reports, and tried to endure a gazillion loops of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”—a Trump rally playlist staple.

From day 1 to day 500, Tur documented Trump’s inconsistencies, fact-checked his falsities, and called him out on his lies. In return, Trump repeatedly singled Tur out. He tried to charm her, intimidate her, and shame her. At one point, he got a crowd so riled up against Tur, Secret Service agents had to walk her to her car.

None of it worked. Facts are stubborn. So was Tur. She was part of the first women-led politics team in the history of network news. The Boys on the Bus became the Girls on the Plane. But the circus remained. Through all the long nights, wild scoops, naked chauvinism, dodgy staffers, and fevered debates, no one had a better view than Tur.

Unbelievable is her darkly comic, fascinatingly bizarre, and often scary story of how America sent a former reality show host to the White House. It’s also the story of what it was like for Tur to be there as it happened, inside a no-rules world where reporters were spat on, demeaned, and discredited. Tur was a foreign correspondent who came home to her most foreign story of all. Unbelievable is a must-read for anyone who still wakes up and wonders, Is this real life?

Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency

From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump—the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.

Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reality television to its culmination inside Trump’s penthouse on election night.

The shocking elevation of Bannon to head Trump’s flagging presidential campaign on August 17, 2016, hit political Washington like a thunderclap and seemed to signal the meltdown of the Republican Party. Bannon was a bomb-throwing pugilist who’d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Yet Bannon’s hard-edged ethno-nationalism and his elaborate, years-long plot to destroy Hillary Clinton paved the way for Trump’s unlikely victory. Trump became the avatar of a dark but powerful worldview that dominated the airwaves and spoke to voters whom others couldn’t see. Trump’s campaign was the final phase of a populist insurgency that had been building up in America for years, and Bannon, its inscrutable mastermind, believed it was the culmination of a hard-right global uprising that would change the world.

Any study of Trump’s rise to the presidency is unavoidably a study of Bannon. Devil’s Bargain is a tour-de-force telling of the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the election, many of them orchestrated by Bannon and his allies, who really did plot a vast, right-wing conspiracy to stop Clinton. To understand Trump’s extraordinary rise and Clinton’s fall, you have to weave Trump’s story together with Bannon’s, or else it doesn’t make sense

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10 thoughts on “Reading Into Trump and the Republican Regime

    1. Translation: Russia angle isn’t panning out like we hoped, so we need to soften the blow for our audience that we riled up. Also, it might even come back to bite us now that Fusion GPS is pleading the 5th, so we need to get rid of the story.

    2. Yes, it was seeing JM’s piece in the New Yorker that ultimately led to this post, through various turns if thought.

  1. There’s no doubt that VP Pence and President Trump are not to be trusted, and that both hold horrible views: Pence’s center on begin anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-poor, and the Republican standard, anti-minority, but he should be seen as far scarier than the president, because he is able to cast his repressive views as religious belief, and when hatred, misogyny, and racism, are couched in religion they’re viewed as perfectly acceptable. The president’s dishonesty, racism, etc., seem to be slightly more troubling to some on the right simply because of the way he displays them: he comes off as simply a worthless prick, and only people with similar attitudes support that.

    That said — I have no time for “clinicians” who put forth diagnoses of all sorts of issues the president exhibits without ever having had any examination time with him.

  2. Indeed, Mike Pence is a big danger to millions of Americans, many of them oblivious to this. I have just seen an article which has it that Pence would not assist in invoking the 25th Amendment, I am not so sure.

    For on Jane Meyer and the excellent New Yorker article this has been reprised elsewhere with 5 Facts About Mike Pence’s Close Ties to the Koch Brothers Not Included in Jane Mayer’s New Yorker Article. Pence could have much to gain by helping invoke the amendment and more to lose by not doing so.

    1. I didn’t realise that Pence was the Kochs’ man until I read Dark Money. Not something that Trump should be too sanguine about, IMO.

    2. The Pence immigration alternative isn’t that far away from being Trump’s stated plan during the campaign. Illegals leave and then they are allowed to come back.

    3. MikeN

      Pence is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. Why are you trying to divert attention from this well-documented fact? It makes you look like the very worst sort of shill.

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