The Destructionists: The Twenty-Five Year Crack-Up of the Republican Party (Hardcover)
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A scathing history of twenty-five years of Republican attempts to hold on to political power by any means necessary, by a hugely popular Washington Post political columnist
In 1994, more than 300 Republicans under the command of obstructionist and rabble-rouser Congressman Newt Gingrich stood outside the U.S. Capitol to sign the Contract with America and put bipartisanship on notice. Twenty-five years later, on January 6, 2021, a bloodthirsty mob incited by President Trump invaded the Capitol.
Dana Milbank sees a clear line from the Contract with America to the coup attempt. In the quarter century in between, Americans have witnessed the crackup of the party of Lincoln and Reagan, to its current iteration as a haven for white supremacists, political violence, conspiracy theories and authoritarianism.
Following the questionable careers of party heavyweights Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell, and Rudy Giuliani, and those of many lesser known lowlights, Millbank recounts the shocking lengths the Republican Party has gone to to maintain its grip on the American people.
About the Author
DANA MILBANK is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist for the Washington Post. He has also been a contributor to CNN and MSNBC and is the author of the national bestseller Homo Politicus, Tears of a Clown, O Is for Obama, and Smashmouth. He lives in Washington, DC.
"There is a fine and elegant line between humor and horror, and no one walks it any better than Dana Milbank. Literally no writer in Washington is better suited to answering the GOP’s ever-present 'How Did We Get Here?' question. It’s all right here in The Destructionists, in all its depressing, spiraling detail – and yet so thoroughly enjoyable, too. That’s the Milbank Miracle, right there. I devoured this."
--Mark Leibovich, author of This Town and Thank you for Your Servitude
"Dana Milbank is a sizzling hot observer of American politics. His writing is irreverent, provocative and, whether or not you agree with his point of view — always entertaining."
--Jonathan Karl, author of Front Row at the Trump Show and Betrayal
“One of America’s great liberal journalists tackles the great liberal problem of our age — the economic defenestration of democracy. Essential reading for those seeking to understand how we got into this mess, and how to get out.”
--Zachary D. Carter, author of The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard
"In this painful, powerful, and deeply necessary account of the devolution of the GOP, one of the nation’s most trenchant political observers chronicles the growing threats to our democracy. Dana Milbank has written a riveting history and a bracing warning about the challenges we continue to face. How did we get here? Where did the epic failures, divisions, and dysfunctions in our politics come from? Milbank argues that Donald Trump, for all his faults, didn’t create this noxious environment -- he was the monster that the GOP had been creating for more than a quarter century."
--Charles J. Sykes, author of How the Right Lost its Mind
“In this stunning and historic review of the modern Republican Party, Dana Milbank chronicles the GOP’s race to the bottom in undermining faith in government by destroying long held and established democratic norms and principles. From swift boating a presidential candidate to sparking the birtherism movement of America’s first Black President and the non stop repeats of the 'Big Lie,' Milbank proves that the Republicans' war is with democratic institutions and perhaps with democracy itself.”
--Donna Brazile, former Interim Chair, Democratic National Committee and author of Hacks: The Inside Story of Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House
"With characteristic wit, Dana Milbank reveals how, step-by-step, characters like Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove (bolstered by a barrage of dark money and rightwing media) replaced normal politics with character assassination, violence, endemic lying and racial division. Trump was the inevitable result after the party of limited government morphed over decades into one obsessed with holding power at all costs. Dana documents how Trump accelerated the downward spiral, making it 'safe' to be a bigot and 'weaponizing' conspiracy theories. If you want to understand Trump, this account of Republicans’ destruction of democracy, truth and decency is essential reading."
--Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post columnist and author of Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump
"An excoriating history of the Republican Party from Newt Gingrich’s rise to speaker of the House in 1994 to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. . . a convincing and well-documented case. Liberals will be incensed."
"Well-researched...lends a genealogy to homegrown authoritarianism."