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Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality, Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

Reviewed by Sean M. Diament

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How did Donald Trump’s supposedly populist takeover of the Grand Old Party culminate in a presidency that overtly served the interests of the ultra-rich? What did Trump’s working-class voters get for their devotion to a reality TV entertainer with a gold-plated toilet? And how is the Republican Party still electorally competitive after years of pursuing unpopular policies?

Continuing the trajectory of Off-Center (2005) and American Amnesia (2016), Let Them Eat Tweets by esteemed political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson convincingly answers the preceding questions with a startingly parsimonious explanation: the current Trump-tinged GOP is the logical extension of a multigenerational development in the Republican Party that married policy objectives of wealth concentration and social welfare retrenchment with rhetorical stylings that emphasized racial threat, emotion over fact, and culture wars. To maintain control, this alliance of social populists and plutocrats (termed “plutocratic populism”) increasingly turns to anti-democratic practices to govern as a radical plurality, doubling down on a negative feedback loop that is less and less responsive to majority will with each passing election. In the end, the working-class mass

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