An Uncivil War (Hardcover)
Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics
Custom House, 9780062698452, 256pp.
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
In An Uncivil War, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent sounds an urgent alarm about the deeper roots of our democratic backsliding—and how we can begin to turn things around between now and 2020.
American democracy is facing a crisis as fraught as we’ve seen in decades. Donald Trump’s presidency has raised the specter of authoritarian rule. Extreme polarization and the scorched-earth war between the parties drags on with no end in sight. The recent Kavanaugh confirmation hearings are only the latest example of this, and of the GOP’s continued ability to steamroll the Democrats and their supporters.
At the heart of this dangerous moment is a paradox: It took a figure as uniquely menacing as Trump to rivet the nation’s attention on the fragility of our democracy. Yet the causes of our dysfunction are long-running—they predate Trump, helped facilitate his rise, and, distressingly, will outlast his presidency.
In An Uncivil War, Sargent reveals why we’ve fallen into the ditch—and how to get out of it. Drawing upon years of research and reporting, he exposes the unparalleled sophistication and ambition of GOP tactics, including computer-generated gerrymandering, underhanded voter suppression, and ever-escalating legislative hardball. We are also plagued by other brutal, seemingly intractable problems such as dismal turnout and powerful, built-in temptations to tilt the political playing field with unscrupulous partisan trickery. All of this has been accompanied by foreign-government intervention and an unprecedented level of political disinformation that threatens to undermine the very possibility of shared agreement on facts and poses profound new challenges to the media’s ability to inform the citizenry. Yet the Republican Party is only part of the problem. As Sargent provocatively reveals, Democrats share culpability for helping to accelerate this slide.
But our plight is far from hopeless, and Sargent offers a series of doable prescriptions for saving our democracy, including a shift of focus toward state legislatures, creative voter registration policies, innovative approaches to fairer districting, and a new sense of purpose. The result is a book that could not be more essential as we head toward the elections that most matter.
About the Author
Greg Sargent writes the influential The Plum Line blog at the Washington Post. Previously, he wrote for New York magazine, the New York Observer, Talking Points Memo, and numerous political websites. He lives in Maryland with his family.
Praise For An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics…
— Washington Post
— Political Wire
“Greg Sargent is one of the best political journalists in the country today. In his must-read new book An Uncivil War he writes powerfully about the many threats facing democracy in the Trump era and why every American should care. A timely, important, compelling read.”
— Ari Berman, senior reporter at Mother Jones and author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
“Greg Sargent is one of the sharpest-eyed observers of contemporary American politics. By deftly weaving together his own reporting and the most up-to date political science research, he exposes the dismal roots of our current moment.”
— Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of How Democracies Die
“Greg Sargent has established himself as one of the shrewdest and most important progressive writers of the Trump era. In An Uncivil War, he lucidly diagnoses the problems of American democracy that facilitated Trump’s rise and describes our recent past to paint a portrait of a better future.”
— E.J. Dionne Jr., co-author of One Nation After Trump
“A passionate and articulate voice for progressive politics and policies...This important book draws on all [Sargent] has learned and written about, with a deep dive into the research on American democracy, to look at where we have gone wrong and what we can do to fix it.”
— Norman J. Ornstein, co-author of It’s Even Worse Than It Looks and One Nation After Trump
“Sargent’s analysis of these issues is refreshingly fair-minded [and] offers some useful suggestions. That will not only get us through the Trumpocalypse, it will get us to a better place than we were before.”
— Progressive Magazine
“Donald Trump’s presidency is the culmination of pathological tendencies in American—mainly Republican—politics, according to this furious broadside… a probing, sophisticated, very readable discussion of constitutional flaws and economic and ideological antagonisms, one that will give readers a deeper understanding of America’s political rot.”
— Publishers Weekly
“The author’s explanation is crystal-clear, if alarming… a solid appeal to small-r republican virtues and an altogether readable polemic.”
— Kirkus Reviews