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Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What it Means for 2012 and Beyond Hardcover – April 16, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


In his timely newest (after The Political Fix), veteran political consultant and pundit Schoen (who has worked with the likes of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Michael Bloomberg) deftly explores the destructive partisanship that is currently paralyzing Washington, as evidenced by the obstructionism in Congress that led to the debt-ceiling crisis of 2011. The reasons for the ever-expanding divide between the left and right (in D.C. and among "mainstream Americans") are many and varied, but Schoen maintains that a lack of trust in governmental efficacy--as fomented by the influence of big money and lobbyists--has led to the rise of populism on both ends of the spectrum, a process the author deems dangerously cyclical. Schoen also investigates various acts of legislation that motivated a shift to far-flung party politics, such as Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which served (along with the Bush administration's Troubled Asset Relief Program) as fertile ground for the growth of the Tea Party. Rather than widening the gap or bridging the divide between the left and right, Schoen advocates systemic change; by examining the past and present, he lucidly shows what isn't working, and provides practical suggestions for improvement, as in campaign-finance and lobbyist reform, as well as redistricting. (Publishers Weekly)

Prominent Democratic political consultant and pollster Schoen (Penn, Schoen, and Berland Assocs.) has been on better than a book-a-year pace over the past five years, analyzing contemporary U.S. politics in titles from Declaring Independence: The Beginning of the End of the Two-Party System (2008) to Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System (2011). Now, in his analysis of the rise of right- and left-wing populism and the corresponding decline of the political center, he declares that we have become “essentially Two Americas: the political class and the American mainstream,” a circumstance rooted in abuses in campaign finance, lobbying, and gerrymandering. Verdict Schoen’s latest critique of America’s ailing democracy carries weight owing to his insider status and clear and succinct writing style. The book may seem repetitive to readers who have encountered Schoen in the past. Those who have not will find this a solid nonpartisan analysis of our current political dysfunction. (Library Journal)

Doug Schoen has written an insightful book on the polarization that has divided our political system and divided America. Schoen offers a real-world analysis of why this is happening and what can be done about it. Hopelessly Divided reveals just how dysfunctional Washington has become—and just how important the 2012 elections are. (Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of New York City)

Doug Schoen is one of our most insightful analysts and Hopelessly Divided analyzes the divisions in American politics and offers a step forward. I may not always agree with Schoen’s conclusions but I’ve always known him to be honest and a straight shooter. This is one of those books that is definitely worth reading to understand the 2012 election.

Hopelessly Divided could well become the definitive work explaining why America has become so polarized and it offer a real world assessment of what we need to do to fix our politics. Doug Schoen combines the unique mix of high level practical experience and sophisticated analytical tools to address the central question facing our dysfunctional political system. (Joe Trippi, author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything)

In a book that should be an important part of the national debate, Schoen offers a wide and challenging view of the changing landscape of our public square. While I disagree at critical points—on President Obama's role, on many of the Democratic campaigns since 1972, on the efficacy of progressive populism—anyone who cares about politics should read this provocative, intensely argued brief for a new ideology of centrism. I loved fighting with this book. (Robert M. Shrum, political consultant and author of No Excuses)

About the Author

Douglas E. Schoen is a prominent Democratic political consultant, pundit, and author. His political clients have included such luminaries as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, and Michael Bloomberg. Internationally he has worked for the heads of states of 15 countries, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and three Israeli Prime Ministers.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (April 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442215232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442215238
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,550,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A terrific examination into how America is split apart by self-interested people, political parties, and special interests. Schoen takes a fair and honest look at how the two political parties have ruined this country and are preventing us from really moving forward. A must-read for anyone looking to find real solutions.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roy Routson on August 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good book that tells it like it is in congress, hopeless. Our politicians are supposed to work for our common good but they don't and it looks like they never will.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By CuriousOne on January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have great respect for the author and enjoyed this book. However, I believe his 'solution' missed the mark by addressing a symptom of the problem and not its root. My opinion comes from having studied the dysfunction of other socialist countries where big government makes decisions for the individual citizens. The USSR is a classic example of the ultimate in such governments, but Venezuela is a current case. My sources are many, but include Gaidar's books on Russia and the USSR, along with Krauze's books on Latin America, along with many classic economics texts including the Austrians, Freedman, Keynes and Adam Smith. I believe our problems stem from a conflict between those who want rulers making their decisions and those who still believe in the US Constitution's limits on the central government's powers. The problems would evaporate if we returned to federalism by returning powers to the state and local levels of government.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful By AAC on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Featuring a combination of proprietary polling data, political analysis, online focus groups, and interviews with on-the-ground players, HOPELESSLY DIVIDED will be a key reference for anyone writing about -- or practicing -- electoral politics for the remainder of the decade.
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