In his first book seven years ago, Devil’s Bargain, Green described how the partnership between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon led to populist, nationalist ideas taking hold on the right during the 2016 presidential campaign. In The Rebels, Green, an experienced political reporter, looks at how a parallel dynamic has played out on the left, with a new strain of populism arising there as well. In this narrative, the trigger was the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath, and the story is told through the careers of the three political figures who have led the charge on the left—Warren, Sanders, and AOC. These three have given fresh voice to an economic populism that, as Green recounts, used to hold sway in the Democratic Party and now has reenergized the party’s progressive wing.
To many Americans, the country’s and the world’s problems seem “immutable and insurmountable,” Baer says. But how do we re-assert American values and ideas and turn today’s “poly-crisis” into “poly-progress?” Baer offers a clear and optimistic roadmap based on four tests: scale, investment, fairness, and identity. Drawing on his experience in foreign and domestic policy, and years as a human rights champion, he shows how, using these four tests, America can generate holistic, values-based solutions to the challenges of immigration, global governance, economic and national security, and social injustice. Note: this book is not wonky. Baer’s intellectual acuity and superb writing make his ideas compelling to anyone interested in, and worried about, salvaging America’s future.
This behind-the-scenes account of the first two years of the Biden presidency offers fresh and revealing details about how Joe Biden and his team overcame huge challenges and a faltering start to make impressive gains in both domestic and foreign policy. Frank Foer argues that by passing several monumental pieces of legislation at home and rallying the world to Ukraine’s defense abroad, Biden has shown himself to be a more ambitious and capable president than widely anticipated. Further, by demonstrating the effectiveness still of political dealmaking and coalition-building, Biden has garnered new respect for the craft of those, like himself, who continue to believe in the work of politicians.