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America in the Age of Trump: Opportunities and Oppositions in an Unsettled World Hardcover – July 4, 2017
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Ed Rollins, former assistant to President Reagan for political and governmental affairs, and former co-chairman to the National Republican Congressional Committee
"Page after page, I found myself arguing with this book, but it was a good argument to have. America in the Age of Trump is a terrific read, engaging and richly sourced, a provocative take on big, controversial issues and on political leaders from Obama to Trumpand nearly everyone else in between. It is especially powerful regarding the loss of trust in institutions. You may disagree with some or much of it, as I do, but it will challenge you to think critically about your own views and justify your idea of the American future."
Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at the University of Southern California
"No bombast, no bull feathers. All real solutions for people of all political stripes worried that America is on the wrong track thanks to never-ending fighting inside the deep political divide in Washington. Schoen and Tarlov, two of the best pollsters and political thinkers, lay out practical, effective ideas for how President Trump's America can get back its "Can-Do" spirit."
Juan Williams, political analyst at Fox News Channel, co-host of The Five, and columnist for The Hill
About the Author
Jessica Tarlov is Senior Director of Research and Consumer Insight at Bustle, the largest independent news and lifestyle site for women. She has experience on a range of projects including advising clients on messaging strategies and on design and execution of polling projects, both domestically and internationally, including Victor Pinchuk, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CNN and Margaritaville. She is a liberal voice on FOX News and supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Jessica lived in London for six years after college where she did her Ph.D. on the impact of scandal on politicians’ careers before working for Boris Johnson on his mayoral reelection campaign.
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Before I get to why, let me say: I didn't think I'd like this book. In fact, as a conservative (well, more of a free-market capitalist) I was sure I'd hate it. But I decided to give it a good read because I like the authors, even though they are despicable democrats (yes, I'm kidding about the despicable part).
BRIEF ASIDE ABOUT THE AUTHORS
You've probably seen Doug Schoen on Fox News as a political analyst. And although he's a long-time Clinton supporter — working as a pollster on both Bill's (1996) & Hillary's (2008) campaigns — he is not afraid to go against the Clintons or the Democratic party. Most recently he pulled his support for Hillary after the feds re-opened their investigation, AND he also was one of the few democratic pundits to oppose Obamacare.
As for Jessica Tarlov, I like to refer to her "America's Favorite Liberal". She also appears on many Fox News opinion shows, most notably CashinIn, where she gives the liberal viewpoint on current issues. Jessica has a PhD from the London School of Economics, and it really shows in her arguments. Unlike other leftist pundits, her arguments are always well-reasoned and backed up with data. She disagrees agreaably.
So these are two very experienced, very smart strategists.
BACK TO THE REVIEW
The book starts off listing ten problems with the country (paraphrasing): (1) The American educations system is failing; (2) Economic indicators look good but wages are stagnant, the middle class is suffering, and the American dream is "on life support"; (3) Our military is not ready in the face of increasing security threats globally; (4) The American justice system needs an overhaul; (5) we have a healthcare crisis; (6) Faith in public institutions are at a historic low; (7) Americans face a crisis of values; (8) The American family is collapsing; (9) We have an unprecedented lack of political leadership; and (10) The future of the American Dream is in danger.
The rest of the book addresses these issues in Schoen & Tarlov's classic style (if you've ever seen them on cable news, and you should):
(a) a cornucopia of data supporting the problem (with full references to all sources), followed by
(b) REASONABLE solutions to these problems, also backed by data.
For example, here's their general solution to the education problem:
"We must remake our education system along market principles that empower parents as educational consumers"
Remember, the authors are *Democrats* and yet they're talking about market-based, individual choice, solutions!
And it's not just for education. They had reasonable solutions for improving Obamacare as well. They provided two plans for replacing Obamacare, and two plans for reforming Obamacare. The solutions in these plans included ending the employer mandate, allowing private companies to operate the online exchanges, and health savings accounts—among many others.
The point is these are solutions that are backed by data and make sense. A far cry from the tired Democrat talking point of "people will die, we need to keep Obamacare", which offers no solution to the rising premiums and high deductibles. Having a healthcare insurance card is not the same thing as having affordable heathcare.
BTW, the healthcare chapter (Chapter 10) is a MUST READ for anyone wanting to understand the big picture of the healthcare crisis.
Speaking of Must Read chapters. I really liked Chapter 3: The Crisis of Values. Because as a professor I see this moral relativism problem a lot on campus. I won't spoil it for you, you have to read the chapter and watch the Backholm video. But this quote sums up the values problem:
"Our complete abandonment of moral instruction for the young has produced two generations of people… so uncomfortable with making judgements that they won't even tell someone that up is not down, that short is not tall" (and later in the chapter) "…a chilling example of how a moral relativism leads to moral paralysis, a complete inability to make even the most rudimentary judgments"
So a lot of the problems today are due to a decline in moral reasoning, which goes hand-in-hand with the decline of the family structure.
Anyway, this review is getting long and it's because I LOVE the book. The solutions they propose are ones that Democrats AND Republicans should be able to agree with, but our political system has become so polarized and politiicans look at everything as a zero-sum game. So they refuse to cooperate for fear of making the other side look good.
And that's a shame. As the authors correctly point out, more than ever we need unity. The American Dream is in danger. Economic mobility has slowed to a crawl. No longer do Americans believe that working hard will lead to success.
Once again, this book provides solutions that Republican AND Democrat VOTERS can agree on (our politicians, on the other hand are hopeless). If President Trump wants to unify the country he should read this book and implement the proposed solutions. Because that will reboot the American Dream.
Well done Schoen & Tarlov!
p.s., I hope Democrat politicians do NOT read this book and continue with their insane, no solution, identity politics strategy.