If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved (Hardcover)
A game-changing account of the deep roots of political polarization in America, including an audacious fourteen-point agenda for how to fix it.
Why has American politics fallen into such a state of horrible dysfunction? Can it ever be fixed? These are the questions that motivate Michael Tomasky’s deeply original examination into the origins of our hopelessly polarized nation. “One of America’s finest political commentators” (Michael J. Sandel), Tomasky ranges across centuries and disciplines to show how America has almost always had two dominant parties that are existentially, and often violently, opposed. When he turns to our current era, he does so with striking insight that will challenge readers to reexamine what they thought they knew. Finally, not content merely to diagnose these problems, Tomasky offers a provocative agenda for how we can help fix our broken political system—from ranked-choice voting and at-large congressional elections to expanding high school civics education nationwide.
Combining revelatory data with trenchant analysis, Tomasky tells us how the nation broke apart and points us toward a more hopeful political future.
About the Author
Michael Tomasky is a columnist for the Daily Beast, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. He lives in Maryland.
Sweeping, rollicking, sometimes breezy political and cultural back story to our current moment, one that demands we become informed… Indeed, the most helpful -- if sobering -- point Tomasky makes is that while our current troubles created the conditions that brought us a President Trump, those troubles would exist no matter who was in the White House. And it will take much more than a new occupant to fix them.
— Jason Zengerle, New York Times Book Review
Daily Beast columnist Tomasky confirms what we already knew—America is polarized—and masterfully charts how it always has been that way, especially at the beginning... The author expertly sifts through American history, citing compromises, which mostly made everyone unhappy. Refreshingly, Tomasky also offers 'A Fourteen-Point Agenda to Reduce Polarization,' which includes a host of reasonable ideas.... Read this excellent book; it's your civic duty.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
If We Can Keep It is an important, instructive, and vibrant history, well told and accessible to anyone who cares about American politics. Michael Tomasky walks you through this country’s often raucous journey from division to division to occasional unity and back to division again. He also offers some common-sense ways that we can yet recover our collective sanity.”
— Joy Reid, host of MSNBC's AM Joy
If We Can Keep It is a brilliant and timely answer to the most important questions in contemporary politics: how did we get here—and how do we get out? Tomasky’s account of our polarized society is informed by a broad knowledge of history and a rich understanding of the country that Donald Trump, amazingly enough, serves as President.
— Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and author of American Heiress
Michael Tomasky, one of America’s finest political commentators, gives us a synoptic account of our broken politics, and a far-reaching program to fix it. The polarization that afflicts politics today is not a fact of nature, he reminds us, but the result of cultural changes and political choices over the past several decades. Tomasky’s bold proposals for reform offer a fresh take on how to repair our fractured republic.
— Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can’t Buy
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