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New Pittsylvania County Supervisor Pledges to Put People Above Politics – GoDanRiver.comSEDI News

On Nov. 8, as in any election season, voters will be asked to weigh in on issues like inflation, crime and gas prices. Fighting for their attention are loaded cultural debates at the end Roe v. Wade And what children should learn in school. But this is no ordinary midterm cycle: Few American elections in recent memory have been as desperate for political violence and democratic dissolution as this one. Last week, a man attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer in the couple’s San Francisco home; Donald Trump’s false claim that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election casts a long shadow over the integrity of the democratic process; Hundreds of candidates who reject the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election will appear on the ballot.

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Ahead of midterms, Atlantic Staff and contributors are offering reading suggestions for what feels like an unprecedented time. Some of his choices are works of history; Others lie more in the realm of theory; Some deal with other countries’ systems. But each has wisdom or insight on a central question: How can we understand the state of American politics today?

Princeton University Press

Spin dictatorsBy Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman

At first glance, Spin dictators Not relevant to US elections. The book describes new forms of dictatorship based not on fear or terror, but on manipulating the media and undermining democratic institutions. In order to build a mass following, these new dictators set one section of society against another, increasing polarization and mutual distrust. Instead of establishing an old-fashioned, top-down cult of personality, they borrow from the world of entertainment to boost their popularity, relying on their followers to create memes and merchandise to celebrate them. Guriev and Treisman’s examples are taken from places like Russia, Venezuela, Singapore, and Kazakhstan, but they may as well be writing about some American politicians. US voters may find it useful to read this book and then ask themselves whether any of the candidates in their local senatorial or gubernatorial races have implicitly adopted the language and tactics originally created by modern autocrats. Anne Applebaum

Cover of The Age of Reform

The Age of ReformationBy Richard Hofstadter

History cannot fully explain the present or predict the future, but it can help us understand the patterns of contemporary politics and possible paths forward. In 1955, Hofstadter, one of the great American historians of the 20th century, was published. The Age of ReformationPolitical and social history of the years 1890 to 1940, the period of Populism, Progressivism, and the New Deal. Rapid technological change, monopoly power, deep inequality, endemic corruption, mass immigration, nativist demagogues, conversions of both political parties, frequent attempts at reform, repeated spasms of reaction: perhaps no other era is quite like our own. Hofstadter is brilliant at analyzing types that seem all too familiar to us today—the crusading urban progressive, the small-town conspiracy theorist. He was a liberal who sympathized with the passion for progress while dispassionately diagnosing its liberal ideas and motives. The fevered morals of that age seem far removed from our paralyzed cynicism. But reading Hofstadter will remind you that reform and reaction not only follow each other, but often coexist in the same moment; Neither is ever the last word. Americans have always dreamed of a better country, and some have actually built it. – George Packer

Cover of One Mighty and Inevitable Tide
WW Norton & Company

A powerful and irresistible tideBy Jia Lin Yang

Our broken immigration system has been a favorite topic of Republicans on the stump during this mid-term election cycle. But many voters are struggling to understand how Congress has failed for decades to fix it, especially when the fate of Dreamers — those who were brought to the United States illegally as children — has been unresolved for more than 10 years, and there is nothing not Prevent a future president from reviving the use of family separation as an enforcement tactic. A powerful and irresistible tide Tracing another fraught period in history provides some helpful explanations. Yang, who is the head The New York Times‘ National Desk vividly profiles key figures in the 40-year battle to repeal racial quotas signed into law in 1924, including New York Congressman Emanuel Saylor. Saylor’s continued fight finally ended in 1965, during the civil-rights movement. The movement makes an implicit case that the moment some in Congress today seem to be waiting for — where a universal consensus can be established, and there is no political risk in reforming the system — will never come, and it’s challenging fears about immigrants. Rhetoric is just as important. As always. – Caitlin Dickerson

Cover of Devil's Bargain
Penguin Press

Devil’s dealBy Joshua Greene

How did extremism move from the fringes of our discourse to the center of our politics? In the final days before another existential election, I’m revisiting Devil’s deal. Greene, a former senior editor at AtlanticSteve Bannon was one of the first journalists to recognize the unparalleled threat to the future of the American experiment. Devil’s deal Chronicles Bannon’s journey from Goldman Sachs to the inner workings of then-candidate Donald Trump’s head. It also illustrates the many ways in which influential money circulates in right-wing circles and shapes our democracy. Some critics have accused Green of overstating Bannon’s influence, but five years after the book’s publication, Bannon is neither gone nor forgotten. Although he ultimately served less than a year in Trump’s White House, he was the recipient of a presidential pardon. He was sentenced to four months in jail last month different Ignoring a subpoena from the Committee on Crime-January 6. His old boss, meanwhile, appears to be preparing to retake the White House. – John Hendrickson

Cover of Public Opinion
Free Press

PrajamatBy Walter Lippmann

One of the best things you can say about Lippmann’s 1922 classic is also one of the worst things you can say about this moment: Prajamat, at 100, has never been more relevant. Lippmann’s study of the human mind and body politic, emerging after World War I, analyzes the impact of the new mass-media system on government, on the news, on the “pictures in our heads.” He applies the lessons of psychology, then a pioneering field, to electoral politics. He warns how easily propaganda, that elusive weapon of war, can become banal. The book created an enduring lexicon: Lipman made stereotype As a category of thought; He discussed media and “pseudo-environments” before other thinkers would expand the concepts; He observed the sheer power of narrative decades before postmodernists imitated this idea. Prajamat It saturates political discourse so thoroughly that its insights, today, seem obvious. In fact, they are ominous. Democracy is the work of the mind that reveals; How will he proceed when the “pictures in our heads” are clouded by lies? – Megan Garber

Cover of Crabgrass Frontier

Crabgrass FrontierKenneth T. by Jackson

Jackson’s 1985 work, Crabgrass Frontier, is beloved by urban historians, and underscores what America’s urban geography is really like. Before 1815, writes Jackson, the suburbs were exactly that—outskirts of the city, “in every way inferior to the original.” Over the next two centuries, a shift in fortunes would make single-family homes in peripheral communities crucial to the American Dream. This change reflected and reinforced a new way of life – one where work, home and play were separated from each other; where privacy and the nuclear family became fundamental; and where castes and classes were physically separated. The marked difference in the quality of public services between cities and suburbs has political implications. Low-density homeownership has been a primary driver of the segregation that continues to define American life. Ahead of important elections, Crabgrass Frontier A powerful reminder that what is built in one era shapes another. We are living in a present built by people who never imagined our lives. As the nation faces an inflection point—a staggering housing shortage, and a shortage of renewable-energy and mass-transit infrastructure, all in the face of a climate crisis—what policymakers do today will determine the future of our descendants. – Jerusalem Damsas

Cover of The Man Who Ran Washington

The Man Who Ran WashingtonBy Peter Baker and Susan Glasser

James Baker is no longer a power player in Washington. The former secretary of state’s influence peaked during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, two leaders who were abandoned by the Trump wing of the Republican Party. Yet the Baker (unaffiliated) and Glasser reporters show that Baker, despite thinking himself above the fray, isn’t so out of place in Donald Trump’s GOP. Baker, now 92, wants to be remembered as a politician, not a campaign operative. But his most enduring legacy may be his contribution to a party whose commitment to ideology and principle has been overtaken by a zeal to win and hold on to power at almost any cost. The writers cleverly weave Baker’s story around his late-life struggle over whether to vote for Trump, a man he clearly cannot stand personally or politically. But Baker, clinging to the hope that he could remain relevant in Washington well into his late 80s, ultimately chose party loyalty. It now appears more like a precursor to our fraught political moment than a return to a more modest figure. – Russell Berman

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