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.
...If Bill Clinton, a young, small-state governor, was the unlikely choice to lead the Democrats back into power, then Newt Gingrich, a brash, come-from-nowhere Georgia congressman, was the equally improbable provocateur who would thwart him at every turn. As Clinton hoped to captain the country on a course of economic growth and social and cultural acceptance, Gingrich’s plan was to challenge every initiative with a scrappy, street-fighting demeanor not previously experienced in the once-genteel halls of government ... NBC/MSNBC political numbers cruncher Kornacki is known for his predictive ability to read electoral tea leaves and spot trends. Now his journalistic prowess is on display in this sharp narrative tracking the steps and missteps over the last quarter-century that brought us to today’s combative political stasis.