In this volume, Daniel B. Brubaker examines the Republican Party from a psychosocial viewpoint, noting what he sees as its many disorders.
Brubaker, who calls himself “one of the only truly progressive Republicans,” posits that the Republican Party has lost its way. His chapter titles—including “Psychology of Represented Personality Disorder Associated with Republicans” and “Fascism and the Republican Party”—further indicate his political position.
Oddly, though, his beginning narrative is abstract and academic. For example, the first chapter (“Republican Confusion in Differentiating Fact versus Fiction”) offers a lengthy discussion of logic and epistemology, based on dictionary definitions and surveys of philosophy. The chapter “Republicans Behave Like Toddlers” discusses child development, especially behavioral problems, and psychopathology.
The author subsequently addresses the theory and history of socialism and utilitarianism; crowd psychology, especially as it relates to conspiracy theories; the illusory truth effect in which “repeating a statement increases the belief that it’s true even when the statement is actually false” and more.
The book’s latter part more directly attacks the Republican Party and Donald Trump, pulling no punches. “The past five decades of the Republican Party have been repressive, defiant, slanderous, demeaning, dishonest, nonfactual, and obstructive to progress,” Brubaker writes before summarizing his findings in the last chapter, which offers solutions to what he sees as a proto-fascist movement in the GOP. These include expanding voting rights, media regulation, and education reform.
The author presents his information logically, although the book’s first part often fails to establish its connection to Republicans (aside from its pointed chapter titles). Readers will become impatient with this indirect approach. By contrast, the latter half, which finally ties these ideas together, feels like a typical, anti-MAGA/Republican rant. The incongruous mix of styles is jarring and makes for an awkward read.
Ultimately, the book’s audience is unclear. Brubaker’s stance is unlikely to attract the former president’s supporters, while Trump’s detractors will likely lose patience with its initial academic, detailed prose.
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