Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

I think that all of those stories
have their merits. But the problem with putting any one as the central thread
in American history is that, inevitably, any particular historical moment is a
complicated, multifaceted, multi-causal mess. Instead of having the one
universal explanation, I wanted to look at a recurring question, which is, how
do you build these majorities
? What this lets you do is put an emphasis on
change as opposed just seeing the same patterns recur. And even if there’s
going to be a lot of continuity along the way, at least we can understand why
that continuity occurs, as opposed to just assuming its existence in the first

JM: You describe our current
political moment as a mix of crisis and stagnation, apocalyptic tidings and
grinding routine. And yet, as you note, democracy is a “machine engineered to
deny permanent resolution.” Things will change. If you were to update this book
a generation from now with a new final chapter, who do you think it might be
about? Who might be our generation’s “realigner”?

TS: The scary thing for me is that
right now is that it’s easy to pick out some figures on the right who you could
imagine building a type of Trumpism without Trump that hits those right-wing
pleasure points, while appealing to just enough normies to build a lasting

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