’s new book, An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics
(HarperCollins, 2018), dives into an analysis of the strength and fragility of American democracy, and surveys a lot of the research by political scientists assessing the question of the stability, longevity, and perseverance of the United States’ democratic structures and the health of the overall republic. Sargent, a writer and columnist at The Washington Post
, takes seriously this broad question about democratic health, and follows a variety of the threads of research and consideration in terms of understanding what contributes to and makes up a healthy democracy, and what may be the causes of weakness and concern. An Uncivil War
begins with the concept of democratic backsliding, and analyzes what, as Sargent writes, were some of the problems already facing American democracy before Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. Sargent notes that Trump’s election has magnified many of these fault lines and brought them into clearer relief. The book then examines issues like fair play in politics in contrast to thunderdome politics and constitutional hardball. A substantial focus of the book is on voter access, protection of the franchise, and arguments for expanding voter registration. The efforts made to suppress and limit voters and voting are interrogated and explored. Sargent also engages with readers and citizens in thinking about how to change the dynamic in the United States and to move towards implementing ideas and plans to strengthen and fortify American democracy.