If We Can Keep It

How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved
Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.3 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.95

Buy for $24.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A game-changing account of the deep roots of political polarization in America, including an audacious 14-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 listeners 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.

©2019 Michael Tomasky (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about If We Can Keep It

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    5
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

What makes America great

An interesting account of historical information that explains how we got to the position we are in today.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

So left it defies credibility

It is apparently way too hard for this author to balance the narrative. Had he done so he might earn the attention to which he believes he’s entitled. This is a poorly disguised attempt to shame Republicans. Classic shame game without balance. Too bad

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Worthless washed-up embittered democrat screed

Rarely have I heard a historian so blatantly and comfortably allow his political biases color his interpretation of facts. His premise that political polarization used to be intra-party rather than inter-party is just flat out historically unfounded. His further, politically motivated, attribution of all polarization to Republicans is historically blind. I will never again read anything written by this hack. Why would I subject myself to his seething propaganda?

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Republican MONSTERS broke our politics.

This analysis is spot on how "conservatives" have colluded to ruin the American Way! TRAITORS!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Liberals???????????

I'm sure this type of think has been productive within many of our institutions but in my opinion it's an attempt to rewrite history and denounce freedom

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read for rectifying today's polarization

For any hope of rectifying today's dysfunctional polarization, this book is a must read. The title says it all, and the author delivers as it promises. Michael Tomasky takes the famous quote of Benjamin Franklin from 1787 and proceeds to answer it at the end, after covering in relevant detail the different ages and stages the US republic has been through. Tomasky highlights the threads and similarities of history to our own time as he traces pivotal events throughout the country's development—we are arguably in the most perilous time of national dissolution since the Civil War. If in reading this book you feel that you've been misled by your history lessons in school, it's because we have all been so misled. Historical players throughout the life of the US were as fully human as any of us are today, complete with both noble and base motives. Today's America has notable similarities to what was chronicled by Alexis de Tocqueville in the Nineteenth Century. Tomasky shows why the relative political harmony of the 1950s was unique in the country's history, and why the conditions that spawned it no longer exist. The author documents how today's Republican Party is on a war footing—not driven by public opinion but by the wealthy libertarian and theocratic enablers who control them, and the part of the population influenced by the vast network of media and think tanks they've funded at unprecedented levels over the long term. The result has been the creation of gerrymandered districts and conservative judicial packing, crafted to guarantee the imposition of supply side fallacies and irrational hostility toward non-white persons. It's no accident that Trump defends neo-Nazis and other xenophobes, with negligible protest from any Republican who expects to remain in the party. It's axiomatic that a republic can function only with the active and informed involvement of its citizens. But Tomasky illustrates how too many people are just consumers, and have forsaken their role as citizens. The Democratic Party so far has been an ineffective counter to the war footing of the other side. While debating actual policy issues the Democrats have not pursued a winner take all posture, in spite of the desire of many on the left that they do exactly that. Tomasky (a self declared liberal) postulates that the Democrats do not have enough liberals to form a ruling coalition—and they will need to include moderates under their tent to achieve the number of legislators and other elected officials necessary to govern (as long as Republicans lack any impulse toward bipartisanship). Even if there were a series of electoral blue waves, Tomasky proffers the sobering thought that saving the republic will be a long term endeavor. And it will necessarily require that Americans in different parts of society get to know one another personally as fellow human beings. The author's list of recommendations is long (and I think reasonable), but he cautions that achieving them will face formidable opposition—even so, we should pursue them nonetheless. For example, one recommendation involves ranked choice at large voting for seats in the House of Representatives. Suppose a hypothetical state has 10 congressional seats, and they are currently gerrymandered to deliver 8 of them to the Republicans when 65% of the total vote statewide goes to Democrats. In ranked choice voting, a candidate must abandon a winner take all campaign approach, as that candidate will need to court support from other voters who might rank that candidate as their second choice—which might make the difference between getting a seat in the House and not. This would result in reduced radicalism and more accommodation of different interests, and actually providing representation for thousands who are currently unrepresented in gerrymandered winner take all single member districts. One of the most hopeful signs Tomasky observes is a movement among corporate executives on their own toward social responsibility. The concern for only share holder profits and nothing else that was advocated by Milton Friedman is finally wearing thin. Corporate executives are the one group that could have some credibility with conservative voters. Let us wish them well in this endeavor—for the sake of the country, and humanity.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a Clarion call to Wake us all

this book lets us know that our democracy is in peril and we must work to defend it