Let Them Eat Tweets
The Republican Party appears to be divided between a tax-cutting old guard and a white-nationalist vanguard?and with Donald Trump’s ascendance, the upstarts seem to be winning. Yet how are we to explain that, under Trump, the plutocrats have gotten almost everything they want, including a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, regulation-killing executive actions, and a legion of business-friendly federal judges? Does the GOP represent “forgotten” Americans? Or does it represent the superrich?In Let Them Eat Tweets, best-selling political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson offer a definitive answer: the Republican Party serves its plutocratic masters to a degree without precedent in modern global history. Conservative parties, by their nature, almost always side with the rich. But when faced with popular resistance, they usually make concessions, allowing some policies that benefit the working and middle classes. After all, how can a political party maintain power in a democracy if it serves only the interests of a narrow and wealthy slice of society?Today’s Republicans have shown the way, doubling down on a truly radical, elite-benefiting economic agenda while at the same time making increasingly incendiary racial and cultural appeals to their almost entirely white base. Telling a forty-year story, Hacker and Pierson demonstrate that since the early 1980s, when inequality started spiking, extreme tax cutting, union busting, and deregulation have gone hand in hand with extreme race-baiting, outrage stoking, and disinformation. Instead of responding to the real challenges facing voters, the Republican Party offers division and distraction—most prominently, in the racist, nativist bile of the president’s Twitter feed.As Hacker and Pierson argue, Trump isn’t a break with the GOP’s recent past. On the contrary, he embodies its tightening embrace of plutocracy and right-wing extremism—a dynamic Hacker and Pierson call “plutocratic populism.” As Trump and his far-right allies spew hatred and lies, Republicans in Congress and in statehouses attack social programs and funnel more and more money to the top 0.1 percent of Americans. Far from being at war with each other, reactionary plutocrats and right-wing populists have become the two faces of a party that now actively undermines democracy to achieve its goals against the will of the majority of Americans.Drawing on decades of research, Hacker and Pierson authoritatively explain the doom loop of tax cutting and fearmongering that characterizes our era—and reveal how we can fight back.

Let Them Eat Tweets Details

TitleLet Them Eat Tweets
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 7th, 2020
PublisherLiveright
ISBN-139781631496844
Rating
GenrePolitics, Nonfiction, Economics, History, North American Hi..., American History

Let Them Eat Tweets Review

  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars for the title itself--so good. I loved Hacker and Pierson's American Amnesia and this one is a short follow-up. It doesn't have the depth of analysis that the first did, but it shows how the GOP has put together a coalition of voters to uphold the interests of the plutocracy. For those who need to be convinced of this theory, they'll probably need more than this thin volume, but if you've already been following the history of the modern right, this book will fill in some of the details.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    A succinct, if repetitive, look at the strangeness of America’s political moment, dominated by what the co-authors call plutocratic populism, a system in which the Republican establishment pairs unpopular austerity policies with nativist, racist appeals to an ever-shrinking white base. The book considers how conservative elites in Western societies have maintained minority rule across the centuries, and marvels at the fact they’ve allowed for so few concessions in America over the past four deca A succinct, if repetitive, look at the strangeness of America’s political moment, dominated by what the co-authors call plutocratic populism, a system in which the Republican establishment pairs unpopular austerity policies with nativist, racist appeals to an ever-shrinking white base. The book considers how conservative elites in Western societies have maintained minority rule across the centuries, and marvels at the fact they’ve allowed for so few concessions in America over the past four decades while still maintaining tight control over the government. The analysis can be shallow and short on solutions, but raises some interesting points.
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  • Ivonne Rovira
    January 1, 1970
    I received my undergraduate degree in English and political science, so I’m pretty much a policy wonk and a student of political history. Even so, authors Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson taught me so much in Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality. Other books have detailed how we got to this dystopian moment where we have 123,000 preventable deaths — and counting! — and face an economic downtown that could surpass that the Great Depression. What Hacker and Pier I received my undergraduate degree in English and political science, so I’m pretty much a policy wonk and a student of political history. Even so, authors Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson taught me so much in Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality. Other books have detailed how we got to this dystopian moment where we have 123,000 preventable deaths — and counting! — and face an economic downtown that could surpass that the Great Depression. What Hacker and Pierson lay out in this meticulously researched book is that the racism isn’t a bug, but a feature, connecting Trumpism with other far-right, authoritarian movements back more than a century. Hacker and Pierson also draw attention to the “off ramps” that the Republican Party declined to take that pushed it farther and farther into thralldom to the 0.1% and their extremely unpopular positions. The message is that extreme inequality requires moderation if democracy is to survive; however, time and again, plutocrats have poured money into divisive racist and anti-Semitic campaigns to replace democracy with authoritarianism in order to keep power and extreme wealth. Even if you’ve read Jane Mayer’s Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right and Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future, Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality is an absolute must-read in these dangerous times!In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and W.W. Norton & Co. in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Robin Bonne
    January 1, 1970
    The title, Let Them Eat Tweets, was clever and I am interested in the shift towards plutocracy, so I figured this might be an interesting read for me.Most of the information wasn’t presented directly, or even chronologically, but instead scattered between a lot of repetitive text which used different phrases to say the exact same thing. A quick read, it didn’t take me very long from start to finish. It reminds me of reading a college paper with a minimum word requirement; the author seemed to ad The title, Let Them Eat Tweets, was clever and I am interested in the shift towards plutocracy, so I figured this might be an interesting read for me.Most of the information wasn’t presented directly, or even chronologically, but instead scattered between a lot of repetitive text which used different phrases to say the exact same thing. A quick read, it didn’t take me very long from start to finish. It reminds me of reading a college paper with a minimum word requirement; the author seemed to add a lot of word padding to make it longer. I would have enjoyed the book more had the information been succinctly presented. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.
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  • Rick Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Installment number 523,978 In the collective liberal lament at how bad the world is and how unfair it is. This book engages regularly in what I’m going to call in “appeal to democracy“ where the author states some thing that the “conservatives“or “Republicans“ are doing and then says that it threatens democracy. Whether it actually threatens democracy or not is irrelevant, As with many lazy rhetorical devices, the fact that it was said by the author is sufficient proof. It also provides a suffic Installment number 523,978 In the collective liberal lament at how bad the world is and how unfair it is. This book engages regularly in what I’m going to call in “appeal to democracy“ where the author states some thing that the “conservatives“or “Republicans“ are doing and then says that it threatens democracy. Whether it actually threatens democracy or not is irrelevant, As with many lazy rhetorical devices, the fact that it was said by the author is sufficient proof. It also provides a sufficient bogeyman to write against.Without being too pedantic, I’ve always gotten a chuckle out of the actual labels of our two American parties. Democrats appeal to democracy, something that the United States is not and has never been. It’s a beautiful idea, representing a hopeful future or idealistic ultimate. Republicans on the other hand speak to what is and what has been, the little republic that could. Pragmatic to their core, the noblest I deal of Republicans for so long, pre-Reagan, where to be the practical adults in the room. The Sandra Day O’Connor Republicans are in ethos I definitely agree with. Now these books contention is that we’ve moved away from those ideals. Anyone with half a working eyeball and a third of a working brain cell would probably agree. But their reasoning as to the causes likely differ a wildly. “Big scary corporate money” (TM), has resulted in a “populist plutocracy.” A fine contention if there were any evidence in this book to back it up.The problem with this book is that it’s just hackey. The author claims that income inequality in United States is the largest in the world, but apparently is never heard of South America, or Africa, or Asia. Tellingly enough the “whole” world involves Europe and North America. Possibly Antarctica I’m not sure how the income inequality is there. Not a lot of hard-hitting income studies coming out of the Antarctic Economic Forum. Essentially the author ignores a lot of facts and creates what is a several hundred page opEd about how tough it is to be a well educated liberal. Done well I think this book is a banger. I’m practically giddy with excitement to read Thomas Piketty‘s Capital and Ideology at some point in the next five years. But this book ain’t it. So after grossly miss characterizing several fundamental assumptions about the world and how it works the author proceeds to come to emotional conclusions about how bad things are and “OMG isn’t it terrible” I don’t actually know because I stopped reading. Life is too short to bother with this. There was a beautiful sunset tonight. I spent some time paying attention to that instead.
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  • Perry
    January 1, 1970
    The transformation of the GOP into a plutocracy that does little to help most of its constituents. Although a slightly different take than Dark Money and The Fifth Risk, the book provoked the same response from me: utter depression.
  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent analysis of the expansion of "plutocratic populism" since Reagan. Republicans serve the wealthy using huge money donations (exacerbated by Citizens United) while maintaining the support of working class and middle class whites using racism, Fox News and social media, the NRA, and the abortion debate. Lots of interesting facts, including how the average Republican voter is significantly more progressive than the party. Trump is the culmination, not the main cause. Well worth a read.
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  • Diane Hernandez
    January 1, 1970
    Let Them Eat Tweets is an intentionally political divisive book. I am only concerned because the non-rich Republican voter who needs to read the facts within the book will skip it based on the title or quickly judge it as fake news. Essentially, the book is preaching to its own, democratic, choir.And the choir, which includes me, already knows these things just from being alive at this time. Someone needs to press home a simple truth: Watch what Trump does—not what he says. His actions do truly Let Them Eat Tweets is an intentionally political divisive book. I am only concerned because the non-rich Republican voter who needs to read the facts within the book will skip it based on the title or quickly judge it as fake news. Essentially, the book is preaching to its own, democratic, choir.And the choir, which includes me, already knows these things just from being alive at this time. Someone needs to press home a simple truth: Watch what Trump does—not what he says. His actions do truly contradict his rhetoric. Making America Great Again is a fantastic slogan...but what has he done to achieve that for anyone but himself and his rich friends? Not much, if anything. His plan is brilliant in its simplicity. Deny everything and, if the truth comes out, call it fake news. I better get off my soapbox and get back to the review.If you are a Democrat or a never-Trump Republican, Let Them Eat Tweets will validate your views. If you are a Trumper, you aren’t reading this review or the book but instead blasting me as a fool in the comments. That’s fine. We can agree to disagree. Because of the tone of the book, in my eyes at least, is not hitting the correct audience, 3 stars.Thanks to Liveright, W.W. Norton & Company, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Shane Hankins
    January 1, 1970
    This is the best book about contemporary politics and political economy I have ever read. It provides a crisp, clear and well argued framework for understanding the current political situation (some would say crises) in the US. If you want to understand how a small group of economic plutocrats keeps achieving their policy goals despite being massively at odds with the best interests and desires of the vast majority of the population, then you need to read this. It provides a robust yet relativel This is the best book about contemporary politics and political economy I have ever read. It provides a crisp, clear and well argued framework for understanding the current political situation (some would say crises) in the US. If you want to understand how a small group of economic plutocrats keeps achieving their policy goals despite being massively at odds with the best interests and desires of the vast majority of the population, then you need to read this. It provides a robust yet relatively simple paradigm for understanding our politics while sketching a roadmap for improving them.
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  • Clay
    January 1, 1970
    Republicans in the US rule using the three R's: resentment, racialization and rigging, combined with policies friendly to the super rich plutocracy. Resentment is the key: deep perceptions of unfairness and indignation at fellow citizens who they think others are eating their share of the pie. Partners such as the Christian Right and Fox News encourage and foment this dislike, steering it towards immigrants, people of color, gays and lesbians. They do this without mentioning that the real pigs a Republicans in the US rule using the three R's: resentment, racialization and rigging, combined with policies friendly to the super rich plutocracy. Resentment is the key: deep perceptions of unfairness and indignation at fellow citizens who they think others are eating their share of the pie. Partners such as the Christian Right and Fox News encourage and foment this dislike, steering it towards immigrants, people of color, gays and lesbians. They do this without mentioning that the real pigs at the trough are the plutocrats getting their tax cuts, and slashing social programs to pay for them. Indeed the extreme pro plutocrat slant worsens the social conditions for most voters, making them even more resentful. Racialization is related to this, drawing on the deep US history of slavery, reconstruction, apartheid, and pseudoscience on racial inferiority. Since these are increasingly minority views, the third plank of vote rigging is needed. This weaponizes elements of the constitution (overrepresentation of rural white voters in electoral college and senate elections, separation of powers) by aggressive gerrymandering in Republican controlled states, and appointments of extreme, right wing judges.This "successful" ruling strategy has been crafted over a long period, starting in the 1980s. Trump is just the latest manifestation. One aspect that needs further thought is the authors' labeling of this approach as "pro-business". While there are elements of this, there is also another side. For example, support to fossil fuel business (the Koch family is a major supporter) is arguably preventing the realignment to renewable energy, and could be turning US companies into zombie, uncompetitive businesses by undermining the forces of creative destruction at the heart of strong capitalist economies. Also, there is little mention of international elements, and how they intersect with the overall ruling strategy. Key enablers for the global super rich are the interlocking, global networks of company registrars, banks, offshore accounts, courts, real estate businesses, hedge funds, accountants, auditors, passport brokers and facilitators that enable beneficial owners to amass, protect and enjoy their fortunes. In addition, there are the endless wars in the Islamic world produce profits for military contractors, but isn't the lack of success risking the USA brand? And in recent years, the go it alone strategy of undermining long standing alliances seems risking the same, isn't it? Or is all of this part of a more far-reaching effort to justify a larger military, militarized police, surveillance state and other elements of authoritarianism to subdue the popular majority?Another element that could be given more emphasis is the divide and rule aspect of this strategy. Poor whites, blacks and latinos all have common economic interests. The RRR strategy works to keep them apart, and thus weakens their political voice.Another aspect that could be developed in a future edition is how the framework helps explain the unique US response to COVID-19. A divide and rule strategy pits poor whites against people of color, distracting them from their common economic interests in comprehensive health and other social programs, and regulations to protect the environment. This allows tax cuts and weak regulations benefiting the rich. Indeed, the assets of plutocrats and other wealthy investors are close to all time highs following massive pump priming from the Fed and Treasury, despite the pandemic and deep economic recession. Weak social programs and the lack of a coherent response to the pandemic, combined with willful ignoring of health guidance, fuels massive spikes in infections. Communities of blacks and people of color are hit particularly hard by disease and job losses. They protest, along with sympathizers, and some protests become violent. This violence is exacerbated as federal forces are sent in, and the "riots" are weaponized by Fox news and other outlets to feed into the rage and racism of the republican base of rural white men. Rigged voting is highly likely in the chaotic, pandemic setting.
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  • Kevin Krogmann
    January 1, 1970
    Jacob and Paul deserve 5-stars for this book, which catalogues what should be common knowledge in America, but isn't. Namely, that the Republican party - as the Conservative party - are fascists: willing to overthrow democracy in the United States I'm pursuit of the power and transfer of wealth to the wealthy. They deserve 4-stars for the thoroughness of their argument and one star for it's importance. The thoroughness comes in the detailing of how the Republicans, facing the Conservative Dilemm Jacob and Paul deserve 5-stars for this book, which catalogues what should be common knowledge in America, but isn't. Namely, that the Republican party - as the Conservative party - are fascists: willing to overthrow democracy in the United States I'm pursuit of the power and transfer of wealth to the wealthy. They deserve 4-stars for the thoroughness of their argument and one star for it's importance. The thoroughness comes in the detailing of how the Republicans, facing the Conservative Dilemma -- slavish attachment to unpopular economic policies -- stoke outrage and embrace white identity politics in order to manipulate voters to win elections (that Republicans have increasingly rigged) in order to heap wealth on themselves and their donors (at the cost of the middle and lower classes). The book seeks to correct a huge, indefensible omission in their previous works -- like their otherwise awesome book, American Amnesia -- and that it is the degree to which racism motivates Republicans and their old, white male base to consider themselves above democracy and better than their fellow citizens. The authors' make a little too much of Republican use of "racialization," the use of seemingly non-racial terms to convey racist sentiments. It is interesting, but hairsplitting. Whether deployed as a strategy, tactic or a belief system, it is still plain, old, ugly racism know matter how it is package.There are at least two elements that are missing. The first is the story of how and why the Democratic Party so thoroughly abandoned labor to it's enemies. This is not central to the Conservative Dilemma telling and there are a few moments when light falls on the Democrats in the book. More here would be good. A second missing element is a(n) (a)moral one. The authors fail to call out how conservative policies seek to create or perpetuate systems of exploitation. Republican politicians and their donors form a small, powerful group who seek policies that actively allow them to profit from exploiting others -- think not just tax policy, but environmental, labor, consumer protection, collective bargaining, etc. This groups outstanding feature is it's psychopathology. Individuals (self-described "makers") who have the hubris to claim responsibility for the status and wealthy that inheritance and luck have given them, but refuse to take responsibility for the harm that they cause millions of others. Call it the original sin of the two Freds (Fred Koch and Fred Trump): the raising of a psychopathic cabal. May the lot of them -- the Paul Ryans and Mitch McConnells along with the Trumps -- rot in hell with David Koch for their active pursuit of the misery of the masses.Our society needs a moral reckoning as much as our democracy needs a political one.
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  • Jason Bailey
    January 1, 1970
    Does as good a job of any book I’ve read at connecting the dots in recent political history around the rise of the Right in the Republican Party. Hacker and Pierson trace its source to the growth of inequality combined with the rising unpopularity of policies that further that inequality. To maintain political viability even while embracing the needs of the plutocracy, the party increasingly turned to a politics of resentment and racialization as well as policies that limit democratic control, i Does as good a job of any book I’ve read at connecting the dots in recent political history around the rise of the Right in the Republican Party. Hacker and Pierson trace its source to the growth of inequality combined with the rising unpopularity of policies that further that inequality. To maintain political viability even while embracing the needs of the plutocracy, the party increasingly turned to a politics of resentment and racialization as well as policies that limit democratic control, including by taking advantage of weaknesses in our political system (role of Senate, electoral college, gerrymandering, power of courts). Trump, they correctly argue, is not an aberration but an extension of a strategy that is decades in the making. The book is especially interesting in the role of extra-party institutions in “organizing outrage”—the NRA, evangelical Right, conservative media—and pushing the party to support plutocracy—Koch networks, US Chamber.
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  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, I LOVE the title! This little book packs a big punch! The authors explain how the Republican Party utilizes plutocratic populism to hold onto their shrinking white base This book was an important, but depressing read for me. I am a proud Democrat, but hate what the Republican Party has turned into.
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  • Lorcan Neill
    January 1, 1970
    The current state of the Republican Party is a danger to America. It’s embrace of plutocratic populism over the last 40 years has exacerbated inequality and divided the nation. They are actively engaging in tyranny of the minority. Read this to learn more - highly insightful and well written by two acclaimed political scientists.
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  • Paul Picillo
    January 1, 1970
    Poltical scientists explain the move of the Republican Party from Moderate to Far Right. This is explained because of economic inequality and power of elites.....In the conclusion....authors propose their remedies....
  • David Cohen
    January 1, 1970
    Makes its case, nothing earth shattering. Probably a good place to start if you haven’t been following American politics too closely, and are trying to get a handle on how it got so messed up.
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Received as a GoodReads giveaway. I couldn't make it all the way through, it was too dull and repetitive.
  • Peter Z.
    January 1, 1970
    Nice write-up vis a vis self diagnosing for TDS.But what do you mean "we", Kemosabe?
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