The state of the Republican Party, controlled by the strictest base, is diminished, E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes. It has become white and older in a country that is no longer that....
One Nation After Trump offers the definitive work on the threat posed by the Trump presidency and how to counter it....
The explosive account of how Republican legislators and political operatives fundamentally rigged our American democracy through redistricting....
Russia expert Luke Harding lays out the most in-depth look to date at the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia....
Like every other prospering democracy, the United States developed a mixed economy that channeled the spirit of capitalism into strong growth and healthy social development....
Behind today's headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots....
Lies, Incorporated takes an unflinching look at the powerful network of politicians and special interest groups that have launched coordinated assaults on the truth to shape American politics....
A razor-sharp thinker offers a new understanding of our post-truth world and explains the American instinct to believe in make-believe, from the Pilgrims to P. T. Barnum to Disneyland....
From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump....
Dispatches from the 2016 election that provide an eerily prescient take on our democracy's uncertain future....
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump describes the consensus view held by two dozen psychiatrists and psychologists that Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill....
The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy....
Congress is the first branch of government in the American system, write Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, but now it is a broken branch, damaged by partisan bickering and internal rancor....
Chris Hedges on the most taboo topics in America, with David Talbot....
The election of Donald Trump is a dangerous escalation in a world of cascading crises....
With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party's philosophy and how it has changed over the years....
In April 2016, computer technicians at the Democratic National Committee discovered that someone had accessed the organization's computer servers and conducted a theft....
David Neiwert has been tracking extremists for more than two decades. In Alt-America, he provides a deeply researched and authoritative report on the growth of fascism and far-right terrorism....
Acrimony and hyperpartisanship have seeped into every part of the political process. Congress is deadlocked, and its approval ratings are at record lows. America’s two main political parties have given up their traditions of compromise, endangering our very system of constitutional democracy. And one of these parties has taken on the role of insurgent outlier; the Republicans have become ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, and ardently opposed to the established social and economic policy regime.
Here, congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein identify two overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse. The first is the serious mismatch between our political parties, which have become as vehemently adversarial as parliamentary parties, with a governance system that, unlike a parliamentary democracy, makes it extremely difficult for majorities to act. Second, while both parties participate in tribal warfare, both sides are not equally culpable. The political system faces what the authors call "asymmetric polarization", with the Republican Party implacably refusing to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, no matter the cost.
With dysfunction rooted in long-term political trends, a coarsened political culture, and a new partisan media, the authors conclude that there is no silver bullet that can solve everything. But they offer a panoply of useful ideas and reforms, endorsing some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public at large to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle. Until voters learn to act strategically to reward problem solving and punish obstruction, American democracy will remain in serious danger.
This book should be required reading in every civics class in America. The authors do an amazing job of laying out the history of our government and explaining why it has become so ineffective.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Find the beginnings of our political dysfunction and suggestions of what to do. Well researched and well written.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
If the authors were really even-handed in their descriptions of problems, examples and solutions.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Nothing written by these guys.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from It's Even Worse Than It Looks?
The claim that it was non-partisan. That is a lie.
Any additional comments?
This book pretends to be an objective look at what is wrong with the political system in the U.S. It then proceeds to blame every problem on conservatives, especially Republican conservatives. In the authors' view, anything that impedes the leftist agenda of President Obama and the leftists he represents is obstructionist, and what we need to do to remedy the problem of "ineffective government" is to roll over and acquiesce to all of the wasteful, inefficient social programs, profligate spending and government control of every aspect of our lives. Every 50 pages or so, the authors state, "the Democrats are not free of blame, but...." I would challenge any reader to post a quote from this book that states any opposing view other than "we cannot move forward because of the Republicans." Sorry if this review is so political - I wouldn't have posted it if the description on Audible didn't claim that it was bi-partisan. If you follow objective political analysis, skip this one. It is also moot following the 2016 Presidential election.<br/>
This was an eye opening book for someone like me, who is not a scholar of the American political process but knows something is wrong. I mean seriously, when 7 out of 10 voters are unhappy with the two choices that we ended up with for the 2016 election, there is something wrong with the process that got them there. This book was interesting to me, as it clarified some issues that I didn't know a lot about - for example, I understand now why a balanced budget may not really be what we want. I also never heard before about the secret blocks of bills and nominations in the Senate. I had no clue that Senators can anonymously block things out of fear of reprisals if their identity and actions were known. My feeling is that if you can't or don't want to say something publicly and identify yourself then you shouldn't do it. If a Senator wants to block something, then speak up and tell the electorate why you did that and don't hide behind secrecy rules. I was astounded that the creators of a certain bill turned around and opposed the bill simply because President Obama was supportive of it.
I like that the authors admit that it will take a lot to fix the system and that they aren't sure it can be done completely, yet they also provide suggestions that may or may not work. But, they are ideas for something different, and at this point anything that moves our country back to the direction of meaningful debate and dialogue, as well as responsiveness to the public, is better than this era of petty partisan politics where self-interest reigns supreme.
I learned a lot from listening to this book but it also left me with the feeling that most of my assumptions were wrong. The author did not provide compelling alternatives in the face of legislative paralysis. The book was good but not great.
The narrator is good. Good analysis and contains plenty of useful advice, tips, and comparisons.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I think anyone who wants to hear the Democratic view of the current state of things should listen to this.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
The writers tend to be a bit biased. They point out how party politics dominates Republican decisions yet seem to gloss over how Democrats are guilty of the same. However, the description of the book made it clear that this was coming from a Democratic party perspective and never pretended to be objective so I can't fault them for it. As long as you are aware of the bias intrinsic to the book I think it conveys some good information as to how the Republicans seem to operate. Just keep in mind that Republicans assuredly have a different view of their own motives as well as the motives of the Democratic party. Both have their rhetoric and try to demonize their opposite.
Have you listened to any of William Hughes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Nope. He has a clear, soothing voice for this topic. Very easy to listen to.
What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?
I would say that it is interesting how it appears that many in the Republican party are willing to let the country crash and burn for the sake of their political party. I have long suspected this on my own, especially when Obama became president for the second term. However, to be given concrete reasons makes the reality of this more alarming.
Any additional comments?
This book shows just how polarized our country has become. Most Independents tend to be silent but I feel that it is important to voice an opinion. Though I believe that what is said about the Republican party in this book is true, I have also read a conservative-leaning book called A Patriots History of the United States and it was just as effective at demonizing the Democratic party while glorifying the Republican party. Ultimately I think it wise to believe the worst in both parties while being skeptical of their self-proclaimed best. This allows us to be skeptical of our leaders and not allow them to blind us with their attempts at dissimulation.
I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican but have voted for both on numerous occasions. I am simply an American that is looking for constructive ways for the two parties to find common ground, work together, and move us forward as a country. Since calling people racist is all the rage these days, I would like to point out that I am also a minority so that you won’t dismiss what I’m saying as “racial code speak”.
This book assumes that Democrats represent the truth and light and spends the majority of the book using real word examples of misbehavior to demonize Republicans while mostly ignoring the same behavior in Democrats. The book then goes on to explain that Fox news is evil, direct democracy is superior to a representative republic and citizens may have too much liberty for their own good. Sadly, the book never acknowledges the values differences that are the root cause of our highly polarized nation and misses the opportunity to suggest ways to find common ground upon which we can build a stronger America.
If you’re looking for a book to affirm your inner partisan Democrat and offer ways to bring about the 1984 you crave, this is the right book for you. If you’re looking for a book that offers ways to help unite us as a country while preserving your rights, keep looking because this book is NOT it.
7 of 14 people found this review helpful
This book has some great information as to why our government is disfunctional and how we got to this point. I didnt look at how short the book was which feel the price is steep for such a short book.
Would you consider the audio edition of It's Even Worse Than It Looks to be better than the print version?
Who was your favorite character and why?
What about William Hughes’s performance did you like?
He was good reader.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
No extreme reaction but it did help with focusing my ideas and thoughts on how politics works today.
Any additional comments?
This is a worth a read by anyone interested in learning about why our political system is so screwed up. Spolier Alert: one party is more to blame than the other and yes that would be the Republican party.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful