NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The shocking, definitive account of the 2020 election and the first year of the Biden presidency by two New York Times reporters, exposing the deep fissures within both parties as the country approaches a political breaking point.
This is the authoritative account of an eighteen-month crisis in American democracy that will be seared into the country’s political memory for decades to come. With stunning, in-the-room detail, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns show how both our political parties confronted a series of national traumas, including the coronavirus pandemic, the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and the political brinksmanship of President Biden’s first year in the White House.
From Donald Trump’s assault on the 2020 election and his ongoing campaign of vengeance against his fellow Republicans, to the behind-the-scenes story of Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate and his bitter struggles to unite the Democratic Party, this book exposes the degree to which the two-party system has been strained to the point of disintegration. More than at any time in recent history, the long-established traditions and institutions of American politics are under siege as a set of aging political leaders struggle to hold together a changing country.
Martin and Burns break news on most every page, drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before-seen documents and recordings from the highest levels of government. The book asks the vitally important (and disturbing) question: can American democracy, as we know it, ever work again?
New York Times reporters Martin and Burns debut with an impressively sourced and consistently revealing chronicle of America's "political emergency" in the months between the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the start of President Biden's second year in office. To an unusual degree for books covering similar subject matter, the authors get lawmakers, congressional staffers, and campaign operatives from both parties on the record. What emerges is a clear-eyed and often dramatic portrait of two major political parties animated as much by internal divisions as by cross-aisle discord. During the January 6 Capitol insurrection, the authors reveal, the loudest voice demanding President Trump's impeachment was Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney; meanwhile, her Senate colleague Ted Cruz was rallying other hard-liners to continue opposing certification of the 2020 election, despite the day's violence. On the Democratic side, the authors spotlight how the tenuous d tente between progressives and centrists that helped bring Biden to the White House broke down almost as soon as he took office, dooming his Build Back Better bill and complicating his dynamic with Vice President Kamala Harris. Revelations abound of Kevin McCarthy's initial plan to call on Trump to resign after the Capitol riot; of Republican efforts to lure Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema into switching parties as do sharp character sketches. Politics junkies should consider this required reading.
This book is perfect.
I was hoping for a book that spotlighted the shortcomings of both President Trump and President Biden. But the authors lost me during the first chapter when they bypassed Trump’s initial travel ban on China in January 2020, and instead jumped to March 2020 when blue states were asking for more help from the federal government to deal with Covid-19.