49 minutes | Feb 2nd 2021

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson on the Plutocratic Populism of the Republican Party

A transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

Democracy depends on distinctions between political parties. Every election they offer clear choices on economic proposals. In recent years, cultural issues have added a new dimension to the polarization of American politics. 

But the 2020 election added a dangerous dimension to the political divide. The Republican Party has begun to question the integrity of elections and the value of democracy itself. It is not clear how far the Republican Party intends to widen this issue, but the ramifications are dangerous for constitutional government. 

So how did we get to this point? Has the Republican Party radically transformed after four years of Donald Trump or has this been the inevitable trajectory of Republican policies and ideology?

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson have studied the Republican Party for two decades. In their book Let them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality they consider how conservative economic policies have shifted the Republican Party further to the right on issues related to economics, race, and democracy itself. 

Jacob Hacker is a professor of political science at Yale University and Paul Pierson is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. We discuss the relationship between inequality and democracy, American politics, and the possibilities for change in the Republican Party.

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