From MSNBC correspondent Steve Kornacki, a sweeping history of the birth of political tribalism in the 1990s—one that brings critical new understanding to our current political landscape from Clinton to Trump
It can be a strange experience these days to read a book about modern American politics and divisions that is not about Donald Trump. Steve Kornacki’s The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism renders such an experience lively and fulfilling, if not uplifting, by making a mostly convincing case that the brutal 1990s political battles led by Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich had brought the country to its stark divide between 'red America' and 'blue America' by election night, 2000 ... For all his tightly researched tales of Washington drama, however, Kornacki seldom allows external events into the narrative, even where they might provide context...The chapters also have little room for important foreign developments, for instance in Bosnia or Iraq. These omissions are mostly understandable: The book is already a long survey of the decade’s domestic politics alone. But their role in shaping the 1990s is undeniable ... In 2018, The Red and the Blue implicitly leaves us with another one: When, exactly, was the pre-Trump political calm for which so many now yearn?
In his new book, The Red and The Blue, Steve Kornacki points to the 1990s. Within that decade, he points to a political revolution wrought by two men: Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. The MSNBC host is one of the most perceptive political analysts on cable TV. On the page, in a crisp and fast-paced narrative, he lays out his thesis: the last decade of the 20th century gave rise to the tribalism and polarization that dominates American politics today.
... superb ... Thanks to Kornacki’s rich retelling of these events, we can see how today’s reshuffled political parties represent coalitions that began to form in reaction to the compromises their respective leaders forged in the 1990s ... If there’s a shortcoming in Kornacki’s book, it’s that he does not expressly address the connections between the changing international environment and the incipient decomposition, during the 1990s, of what had been a centrist two-party duopoly in American politics.