Why We're Polarized

Why We're Polarized

by Ezra Klein

Hardcover

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Overview

This New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller shows us that America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed. In this “superbly researched” (The Washington Post) and timely book, journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us—and how we are polarizing it—with disastrous results.

“The American political system—which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president—is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face,” writes political analyst Ezra Klein. “We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole.”

“A thoughtful, clear and persuasive analysis” (The New York Times Book Review), Why We’re Polarized reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture.

America is polarized, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics. Over the past fifty years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together.

Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the 20th century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized political identities and polarized political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis.

“Well worth reading” (New York magazine), this is an “eye-opening” (O, The Oprah Magazine) book that will change how you look at politics—and perhaps at yourself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476700328
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 9,253
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Ezra Klein is the editor-at-large and cofounder of Vox, the award-winning explanatory news organization. Launched in 2014, Vox reaches more than 50 million people across its platforms each month. Klein is also the host of the podcast the Ezra Klein Show, cohost of the Weeds podcast, and an executive producer on Vox’s Netflix show, Explained. Previously, Klein was a columnist and editor at The Washington Post, a policy analyst at MSNBC, and a contributor to Bloomberg.

Table of Contents

Introduction What Didn't Happen ix

Chapter 1 How Democrats Became Liberals and Republicans Became Conservatives 1

Chapter 2 The Dixiecrat Dilemma 19

Chapter 3 Your Brain on Groups 49

Chapter 4 The Press Secretary in Your Mind 81

Chapter 5 Demographic Threat 103

Interlude 135

Chapter 6 The Media Divide beyond Left-Right 139

Chapter 7 Post-Persuasion Elections 171

Chapter 8 When Bipartisanship Becomes Irrational 197

Chapter 9 The Difference between Democrats and Republicans 225

Chapter 10 Managing Polarization-and Ourselves 249

Acknowledgments 269

Notes 273

Index 297

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