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Politics or Principle?

Author : Sarah A. Binder,Steven S. Smith
Publisher : Brookings Institution Press
Release : 2001-09-19
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 0815723512

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Book Politics or Principle? Description/Summary:

Is American democracy being derailed by the United States Senate filibuster? Is the filibuster an important right that improves the political process or an increasingly partisan tool that delays legislation and thwarts the will of the majority? Are century-old procedures in the Senate hampering the institution from fulfilling its role on the eve of the 21st century? The filibuster has achieved almost mythic proportions in the history of American politics, but it has escaped a careful, critical assessment for more than 50 years. In this book, Sarah Binder and Steven Smith provide such an assessment as they address the problems and conventional wisdom associated with the Senate's long-standing tradition of extended debate. The authors examine the evolution of the rules governing Senate debate, analyze the consequences of these rules, and evaluate reform proposals. They argue that in an era of unprecedented filibustering and related obstructionism, old habits are indeed undermining the Senate's ability to meet its responsibilities. Binder and Smith scrutinize conventional wisdom about the filibuster—and show that very little of it is true. They focus on five major myths: that unlimited debate is a fundamental right to differentiate the Senate from the House of Representatives; that the Senate's tradition as a deliberative body requires unlimited debate; that the filibuster is reserved for a few issues of the utmost national importance; that few measures are actually killed by the filibuster; and that senators resist changing the rules because of a principled commitment to deliberation. In revising conventional wisdom about the filibuster, Binder and Smith contribute to ongoing debates about the dynamics of institutional change in the American political system. The authors conclude by suggesting reforms intended to enhance the power of determined majorities while preserving the rights of chamber minorities. They advocate, for example, lowering the number of votes required to end debate while increasing the amount of time for senators to debate controversial bills. Reform is possible, they suggest, that is consistent with the Senate's unique size and responsibilities.

Filibustering

Author : Gregory Koger
Publisher : University of Chicago Press
Release : 2010-06-15
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9780226449661

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Book Filibustering Description/Summary:

In the modern Congress, one of the highest hurdles for major bills or nominations is gaining the sixty votes necessary to shut off a filibuster in the Senate. But this wasn’t always the case. Both citizens and scholars tend to think of the legislative process as a game played by the rules in which votes are the critical commodity—the side that has the most votes wins. In this comprehensive volume,Gregory Koger shows, on the contrary, that filibustering is a game with slippery rules in which legislators who think fast and try hard can triumph over superior numbers. Filibustering explains how and why obstruction has been institutionalized in the U.S. Senate over the last fifty years, and how this transformation affects politics and policymaking. Koger also traces the lively history of filibustering in the U.S. House during the nineteenth century and measures the effects of filibustering—bills killed, compromises struck, and new issues raised by obstruction. Unparalleled in the depth of its theory and its combination of historical and political analysis, Filibustering will be the definitive study of its subject for years to come.

The American Congress

Author : Julian E. Zelizer
Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release : 2004-09-21
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 054734550X

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Book The American Congress Description/Summary:

Congress is the heart and soul of our democracy, the place where interests are brokered, laws are established, and innovation is turned into concrete action. It is also where some of democracy's greatest virtues clash with its worst vices: idealism and compromise meet corruption and bitter partisanship. The American Congress unveils the rich and varied history of this singular institution. Julian E. Zelizer has gathered together forty essays by renowned historians to capture the full drama, landmark legislation, and most memorable personalities of Congress. Organized around four major periods of congressional history, from the signing of the Constitution to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, this volume brings a fresh perspective to familiar watershed events: the Civil War, Watergate, the Vietnam War. It also gives a behind-the-scenes look at lesser-known legislation debated on the House and Senate floors, such as westward expansion and war powers control. Here are the stories behind the 1868 vote to impeach President Andrew Johnson; the rise of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and a leading advocate for pacifism; and the controversy surrounding James Eastland of Mississippi, who carried civil rights bills in his pockets so they could not come up for a vote. Sidebars further spotlight notables including Huey Long, Sam Rayburn, and Tip O'Neill, bringing the sweeping history of our lawmaking bodies into sharp focus. If you've ever wondered how Congress worked in the past or what our elected officials do today, this book gives the engaging, often surprising, answers.

The Cynic

Author : Alec MacGillis
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2014-09-16
Category : Biography & Autobiography
ISBN : 9781476761077

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Book The Cynic Description/Summary:

From a dogged political reporter, an investigation into the political education of Mitch McConnell and an argument that this powerful Senator embodies much of this country’s political dysfunction. Based on interviews with more than seventy-five people who have worked alongside Mitch McConnell or otherwise interacted with him over the course of his career, The Cynic, which will be published as an original ebook, is both a comprehensive biography of one of this country’s most powerful politicians and a damning diagnosis of this country's eroding political will. Tracing his rise from a pragmatic local official in Kentucky to the leader of the Republican opposition in Washington, the book tracks McConnell’s transformation from a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and public employee unions to the embodiment of partisan obstructionism and conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill. Driven less by a shift in ideological conviction than by a desire to win elections and stay in power at all costs, McConnell’s transformation exemplifies the “permanent campaign” mindset that has come to dominate American government. From his first race for local office in 1977—when the ad crew working on it nicknamed McConnell “love-me-love-me” for his insecurity and desire to please—to his fraught accommodation of the Tea Party, McConnell’s political career is a story of ideological calcification and a vital mirror for understanding this country’s own political development and what is wrought when politicians serve not at the behest of country, but at the behest of party and personal aggrandizement.

Let them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality

Author : Jacob S. Hacker,Paul Pierson
Publisher : Liveright Publishing
Release : 2020-07-07
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9781631496851

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Book Let them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality Description/Summary:

A New York Times Editors’ Choice An “essential” (Jane Mayer) account of the dangerous marriage of plutocratic economic priorities and right-wing populist appeals — and how it threatens the pillars of American democracy. In Let Them Eat Tweets, best-selling political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that despite the rhetoric of Donald Trump, Josh Hawley, and other right-wing “populists,” the Republican Party came to serve its plutocratic masters to a degree without precedent in modern global history. To maintain power while serving the 0.1 percent, the GOP has relied on increasingly incendiary racial and cultural appeals to its almost entirely white base. Calling this dangerous hybrid “plutocratic populism,” Hacker and Pierson show how, over the last forty years, 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. Based on decades of research and featuring a new epilogue about the intensification of GOP radicalism after the 2020 election, Let Them Eat Tweets authoritatively explains the doom loop of tax cutting and fearmongering that defines the Republican Party—and reveals how the rest of us can fight back.

Republican Leader

Author : John David Dyche
Publisher : Isi Books
Release : 2009
Category : Biography & Autobiography
ISBN : UOM:39015084102386

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Book Republican Leader Description/Summary:

As the GOP leader in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell is the highest-ranking Republican in America. Fellow Kentuckian and political columnist Dyche offers an engrossing inside look at Senator McConnell's unlikely rise.

Defending the Filibuster, Revised and Updated Edition

Author : Richard A. Arenberg,Robert B. Dove
Publisher : Indiana University Press
Release : 2012-08-21
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9780253006981

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Book Defending the Filibuster, Revised and Updated Edition Description/Summary:

Recent legislative battles over healthcare reform, the federal budget, and other prominent issues have given rise to widespread demands for the abolition or reform of the filibuster in the US Senate. Critics argue that members’ traditional rights of unlimited debate and amendment have led to paralyzing requirements for supermajorities and destructive parliamentary tactics such as "secret holds." In Defending the Filibuster, a veteran Senate aide and a former Senate Parliamentarian maintain that the filibuster is fundamental to the character of the Senate. They contend that the filibuster protects the rights of the minority in American politics, assures stability and deliberation in government, and helps to preserve constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers. Richard A. Arenberg and Robert B. Dove provide an instructive historical overview of the development of Senate rules, define and describe related procedures and tactics, examine cases related to specific pieces of legislation, and consider current proposals to end the filibuster or enact other reforms. Arguing passionately in favor of retaining the filibuster, they offer a stimulating assessment of the issues surrounding current debates on this contentious issue.

The Most Exclusive Club

Author : Lewis Gould
Publisher : Basic Books
Release : 2009-04-20
Category : History
ISBN : 9780786735372

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Book The Most Exclusive Club Description/Summary:

The definitive history of the modern United States Senate, and the outsized figures who shaped its role in the twentieth century.

The Liar's Dictionary

Author : Eley Williams
Publisher : Doubleday
Release : 2021-01-05
Category : Fiction
ISBN : 9780385546782

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Book The Liar's Dictionary Description/Summary:

An exhilarating and laugh-out-loud debut novel from a prize-winning new talent that chronicles the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman put on his trail a century later to root out his misdeeds while confronting questions of her own sexuality and place in the world. “An audacious, idiosyncratic dual love story about how language and people intersect and connect, and about how far we'll go to save what we're passionate about.”—NPR Mountweazel n. the phenomenon of false entries within dictionaries and works of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement. Peter Winceworth, Victorian lexicographer, is toiling away at the letter S for Swansby's multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. His disaffection compels him to insert unauthorized fictitious entries into the dictionary in an attempt to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom. In the present day, Mallory, a young intern employed by the publisher, is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels before the work is digitized. She also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Is the change in the definition of marriage really that upsetting? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby's staff to 'burn in hell'? As these two narratives combine, both Winceworth and Mallory discover how they might negotiate the complexities of the often nonsensical, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn, and undefinable path we call life. An exhilarating debut novel from a formidably brilliant young writer, The Liar's Dictionary celebrates the rigidity, fragility, absurdity, and joy of language.

McCain: The Myth of a Maverick

Author : Matt Welch
Publisher : St. Martin's Press
Release : 2007-10-16
Category : Biography & Autobiography
ISBN : 0230608558

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Book McCain: The Myth of a Maverick Description/Summary:

John McCain is one of the most familiar, sympathetic, and overexposed figures in American politics, yet his concrete governing philosophy and actual track record have been left curiously unexamined, mostly because of the massive distractions in his official biography, but also because of his ingenious strategy of talking ad infinitum to each and every access-craving media person who happens by. The more he has spouted, the less journalists have bothered trying to see through the fog. McCain gives the public what it wants but can't find -- a flesh-and-bones political portrait of a man onto whom people are forever projecting their own ideological fantasies. It is a psychological key for decoding his allegedly ‘maverick' actions. McCain will quickly lay out in overlapping detail the root cause of the senator's worldview: his personal transformation from underachieving punk to war hawk uber-patriot, in which he used the "higher power" of American nationalism to save his life and soul. McCain looks behind the war hero, behind the maverick reformer. Journalist and pundit Matt Welch brings to this project an investigative eye and a coolly analytical mindset to provide Republicans, Democrats and Independents a picture of the man.

Why We're Polarized

Author : Ezra Klein
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2020-01-28
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9781476700397

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Book Why We're Polarized Description/Summary:

This New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller shows us that America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed. In this “superbly researched” (The Washington Post) and timely book, journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us—and how we are polarizing it—with disastrous results. “The American political system—which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president—is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face,” writes political analyst Ezra Klein. “We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole.” “A thoughtful, clear and persuasive analysis” (The New York Times Book Review), Why We’re Polarized reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture. America is polarized, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics. Over the past fifty years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together. Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the 20th century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized political identities and polarized political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis. “Well worth reading” (New York magazine), this is an “eye-opening” (O, The Oprah Magazine) book that will change how you look at politics—and perhaps at yourself.

Nixonland

Author : Rick Perlstein
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2010-07-29
Category : History
ISBN : 1451606265

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Book Nixonland Description/Summary:

An exciting e-format containing 27 video clips taken directly from the CBS news archive of a brilliant, best-selling account of the Nixon era by one of America’s most talented young historians. Between 1965 and 1972 America experienced a second civil war. Out of its ashes, the political world we know today was born. Nixonland begins in the blood and fire of the Watts riots-one week after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, and nine months after his historic landslide victory over Barry Goldwater seemed to have heralded a permanent liberal consensus. The next year scores of liberals were thrown out of Congress, America was more divided than ever-and a disgraced politician was on his way to a shocking comeback: Richard Nixon. Six years later, President Nixon, harvesting the bitterness and resentment borne of that blood and fire, was reelected in a landslide even bigger than Johnson's, and the outlines of today's politics of red-and-blue division became already distinct. Cataclysms tell the story of Nixonland: • Angry blacks burning down their neighborhoods, while suburbanites defend home and hearth with shotguns. • The civil war over Vietnam, the assassinations, the riot at the Democratic National Convention. • Richard Nixon acceding to the presidency pledging a new dawn of national unity--and governing more divisively than any before him. • The rise of twin cultures of left- and right-wing vigilantes, Americans literally bombing and cutting each other down in the streets over political differences. •And, finally, Watergate, the fruit of a president who rose by matching his own anxieties and dreads with those of an increasingly frightened electorate--but whose anxieties and dreads produced a criminal conspiracy in the Oval Office.

The Big Sort

Author : Bill Bishop
Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release : 2009-05-11
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 9780547525198

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Book The Big Sort Description/Summary:

The award-winning journalist reveals the untold story of why America is so culturally and politically divided in this groundbreaking book. Armed with startling demographic data, Bill Bishop demonstrates how Americans have spent decades sorting themselves into alarmingly homogeneous communities—not by region or by state, but by city and neighborhood. With ever-increasing specificity, we choose the communities and media that are compatible with our lifestyles and beliefs. The result is a country that has become so ideologically inbred that people don't know and can't understand those who live just a few miles away. In The Big Sort, Bishop explores how this phenomenon came to be, and its dire implications for our country. He begins with stories about how we live today and then draws on history, economics, and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

Congress Overwhelmed

Author : Timothy M. LaPira,Lee Drutman,Kevin R. Kosar
Publisher : University of Chicago Press
Release : 2020-12-07
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9780226702605

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Book Congress Overwhelmed Description/Summary:

Congress today is falling short. Fewer bills, worse oversight, and more dysfunction. But why? In a new volume of essays, the contributors investigate an underappreciated reason Congress is struggling: it doesn’t have the internal capacity to do what our constitutional system requires of it. Leading scholars chronicle the institutional decline of Congress and the decades-long neglect of its own internal investments in the knowledge and expertise necessary to perform as a first-rate legislature. Today’s legislators and congressional committees have fewer—and less expert and experienced—staff than the executive branch or K Street. This leaves them at the mercy of lobbyists and the administrative bureaucracy. The essays in Congress Overwhelmed assess Congress’s declining capacity and explore ways to upgrade it. Some provide broad historical scope. Others evaluate the current decay and investigate how Congress manages despite the obstacles. Collectively, they undertake the most comprehensive, sophisticated appraisal of congressional capacity to date, and they offer a new analytical frame for thinking about—and improving—our underperforming first branch of government.

Inside Congress

Author : Trevor Corning,Reema Dodin,Kyle Nevins
Publisher : Brookings Institution Press
Release : 2017-07-25
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9780815727347

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Book Inside Congress Description/Summary:

Required reading for anyone who wants to understand how to work within Congress. The House and Senate have unique rules and procedures to determine how legislation moves from a policy idea to law. Evolved over the last 200 years, the rules of both chambers are designed to act as the engine for that process. Each legislative body has its own leadership positions to oversee this legislative process. To the novice, whether a newly elected representative, a lawmaker’s staff on her first day at work, or a constituent visiting Washington, the entire process can seem incomprehensible. What is an open rule for a House Appropriations bill and how does it affect consideration? Why are unanimous consent agreements needed in the Senate? The authors of Inside Congress, all congressional veterans, have written the definitive guide to how Congress really works. It is the accessible and necessary resource to understanding and interpreting procedural tools, arcane precedents, and the role of party politics in the making of legislation in Congress.

The Least Among Us

Author : Rosa L. DeLauro
Publisher : The New Press
Release : 2011-05-10
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9781620972212

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Book The Least Among Us Description/Summary:

The outspoken Connecticut congresswoman provides “a powerful case for protecting and expanding America’s safety net” (Elizabeth Warren). Cynical politicians like Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump argue that the people of the United States would be better off without food stamps, Obamacare, and workplace protections. Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro knows these folks are just plain wrong. Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, DeLauro saw firsthand how vulnerable hard-working people are in the face of corporate indifference and government neglect. From fatal industrial fires to devastating childhood poverty, DeLauro witnessed it all—and emerged convinced that social programs are worth going to the mat for, again and again. Worker protections, Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance lift up all Americans; they fulfill this country’s promise of opportunity for everyone and are essential for our country’s health. For twenty-five years, DeLauro has been fighting for everyday Americans, earning a reputation as the most impassioned defender of our social safety net. The Least Among Us tells the story of a quarter-century of deal-making on behalf of people too often overlooked, told by a woman as fearless as she is opinionated. Part House of Cards, part progressive manifesto, The Least Among Us shares lessons about power—how it’s gained and how to wield it for everyone’s benefit. “Can you imagine how cool the world would be if we had Rosa DeLauro getting s*** done instead of Congress being held hostage by terrible people!” —Wonkette “An impassioned, urgent defense of democratic values and the role of government to serve and benefit all citizens.” —Kirkus Reviews

Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy

Author : David Daley
Publisher : Liveright Publishing
Release : 2020-03-17
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9781631495762

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Book Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy Description/Summary:

A revelatory account by the best- selling author of Ratf**ked that will give you hope that America’s fragile democracy can still be saved. Following Ratf**ked, his “extraordinary timely and undeniably important” (New York Times Book Review) exposé of how a small cadre of Republican operatives rigged American elections, David Daley emerged as one of the nation’s leading authorities on gerrymandering. In Unrigged, he charts a vibrant political movement that is rising in the wake of his and other reporters’ revelations. With his trademark journalistic rigor and narrative flair, Daley reports on Pennsylvania’s dramatic defeat of a gerrymander using the research of ingenious mathematicians and the Michigan millennial who launched a statewide redistricting revolution with a Facebook post. He tells the stories of activist groups that paved the way for 2018’s historic blue wave and won crucial battles for voting rights in Florida, Maine, Utah, and nationwide. In an age of polarization, Unrigged offers a vivid portrait of a nation transformed by a new civic awakening, and provides a blueprint for what must be done to keep American democracy afloat.

Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop

Author : Lee Drutman
Publisher : Oxford University Press, USA
Release : 2020
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9780190913854

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Book Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop Description/Summary:

"American democracy is in precarious health. Books on tyranny and fascism are now bestsellers. Parents wonder whether their children will still grow up in a democracy. Gallows political humor about the collapse of the republic creeps into ordinary conversation. No longer a shining model for the world, American democracy today strikes a more cautionary note. An anxious pessimism dominates. By every expert judgment, the United States is slipping. In late 2017, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from "full democracy" to "flawed democracy," giving it the same ranking as Italy. In January 2018, Freedom House downgraded its rating of American democracy to 86 (out of 100), just above Poland (85) and Greece (85), but behind Latvia (87) (and down from 94 in 2010). The August 2018 "Bright Line Watch" survey of 679 political scientists concluded: "Our expert respondents perceive a consistent, ongoing decline in the overall quality of American democracy from 2015." In the August/September 2018 "Authoritarian Warning Survey," 747 democracy experts collectively gave the United States a one in six chance of democratic breakdown in the next four years, and were nearly unanimous (97.1 percent) in their assessment American democracy had declined over the last decade. Let me repeat: a one in six chance of democratic breakdown. That's like rolling a six-sided die, and hoping it doesn't land on Hungary"--

Burning Down the House

Author : Julian E. Zelizer
Publisher : Penguin
Release : 2021-07-06
Category : History
ISBN : 9780143110705

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Book Burning Down the House Description/Summary:

A New York Times Notable Book! A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice The story of how Newt Gingrich and his allies tainted American politics, launching an enduring era of brutal partisan warfare When Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, President Obama observed that Trump "is not an outlier; he is a culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party." In Burning Down the House, historian Julian Zelizer pinpoints the moment when our country was set on a path toward an era of bitterly partisan and ruthless politics, an era that was ignited by Newt Gingrich and his allies. In 1989, Gingrich brought down Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright and catapulted himself into the national spotlight. Perhaps more than any other politician, Gingrich introduced the rhetoric and tactics that have shaped Congress and the Republican Party for the last three decades. Elected to Congress in 1978, Gingrich quickly became one of the most powerful figures in America not through innovative ideas or charisma, but through a calculated campaign of attacks against political opponents, casting himself as a savior in a fight of good versus evil. Taking office in the post-Watergate era, he weaponized the good government reforms newly introduced to fight corruption, wielding the rules in ways that shocked the legislators who had created them. His crusade against Democrats culminated in the plot to destroy the political career of Speaker Wright. While some of Gingrich's fellow Republicans were disturbed by the viciousness of his attacks, party leaders enjoyed his successes so much that they did little collectively to stand in his way. Democrats, for their part, were alarmed, but did not want to sink to his level and took no effective actions to stop him. It didn't seem to matter that Gingrich's moral conservatism was hypocritical or that his methods were brazen, his accusations of corruption permanently tarnished his opponents. This brand of warfare worked, not as a strategy for governance but as a path to power, and what Gingrich planted, his fellow Republicans reaped. He led them to their first majority in Congress in decades, and his legacy extends far beyond his tenure in office. From the Contract with America to the rise of the Tea Party and the Trump presidential campaign, his fingerprints can be seen throughout some of the most divisive episodes in contemporary American politics. Burning Down the House presents the alarming narrative of how Gingrich and his allies created a new normal in Washington.