Today I talked to Steven W. Webster about his book American Rage: How Anger Shapes Our Politics (Cambridge UP, 2020). We discuss the behavioral implications of anger in American politics, from increased intolerance, blame, and aggression, to an ever-deepening lack of trust in government’s efficacy. Among the topics addressed was the role of the media and internet in stoking anger, and how democratic norms are threatened by partisan taunting and the way anger invites narrow loyalty to party over country.
Steven W. Webster is an assistant professor of political science at Indiana University, Bloomington. His research and writings focus on the role of anger in American politics, including the growth of “negative partisanship” in our country, and the ever greater polarization separating Democrats and Republicans.