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From the WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF OF POLITICO and the host of MSNBC's WAY TOO EARLY comes a probing and illuminating analysis of the current state of American politics, democracy, and elections.
“[Lemire] has done his homework.” –The Guardian
Jonathan Lemire uncovers that “The Big Lie,” as it’s been termed, isn’t just about the 2020 election. It's become a political philosophy that has only further divided the two parties.
Donald Trump first tried it out in 2016, at an August rally in Ohio. He said that perhaps he wouldn’t accept the election results in his race against Hillary Clinton, that the election was “rigged.” He didn’t have to challenge the result that year, but the stage was set. When he lost in 2020, he started the lie back up again and to devastating results: an insurrection at the Capitol in January 2021.
In the more than five tumultuous, paradigm-shifting years of Donald Trump’s presidency and beyond, his near-constant lying has become a fixture of political life. It is inextricably linked with how his party behaves, how the Democrats respond to it, and how he remains relevant, even after a decisive loss in 2020. Jonathan Lemire brings his connections, profile, and dogged reportorial instincts to bear in his first book that explores how this phenomenon shapes our politics.
Written with sharp political insight and detailed with dozens of interviews, The Big Lie is the first book to examine this unprecedented and tenuous moment in our nation’s politics.
Politico reporter Lemire debuts with a trenchant analysis of the origins and impact of Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Tracing the roots of the January 6 Capitol riot to an August 2016 rally in which Trump first publicly said that he expected the upcoming presidential election to be rigged, Lemire sketches Trump's long record of distortions about his real estate holdings, wealth, TV ratings, and sex life. Lemire also details how Trump's promotion of the "birther" conspiracy during the Obama presidency helped him to gain traction among Republican voters and revisits the 2019 episode in which then president Trump crudely altered a hurricane forecast map in order to justify his erroneous claim that Alabama had been in the storm's path. Though treated as a joke at the time, Trump's actions, coupled with the pressure government employees felt to support him, "changed the very nature of the nation's politics and deliberately exacerbated the mistrust many Americans already had in their government." Throughout, Lemire forcefully calls out Trump's Republican enablers and uncovers behind-the-scenes details about Sen. Joe Manchin's torpedoing of the "Build Back Better" bill and other events. This dispatch on the state of American politics hits the bull's-eye.