The march to the Trump presidency began in 1988, when Rush Limbaugh went national. Brian Rosenwald charts the transformation of AM radio entertainers into political kingmakers. By giving voice to the conservative base, they reshaped the Republican Party and fostered demand for a president who sounded as combative and hyperbolic as a talk show host.
“At long last, Brian Rosenwald has filled a scholarly vacuum by offering a cogent, well-researched, and entertaining explanation of how Donald Trump was elected president. The conventional wisdom that Trump won by swinging 80,000 voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan might be factually accurate, but is too simplistic. Instead, Rosenwald proves that the outcome of the 2016 election was three decades in the making, made possible by the emergence of a candidate perfectly suited to capitalize on an environment created by the titans of talk radio. This is the book that provides proper context for the greatest election upset in modern American history.”―Michael Smerconish, Sirius XM and CNN host
“Moving the discussion of contemporary conservative media out of the realm of shadowy conspiracy theory and into the sunlight of deeply researched historical investigation, Brian Rosenwald shows how right-wing talk radio moved from the margins to the mainstream and warped American politics in the process. This book will be of vital interest to anyone concerned about restoring the quality of American democratic debate.”―Joseph Crespino, author of Atticus Finch: The Biography―Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon
“Before there were social media echo chambers, before there was Fox News, there was Rush Limbaugh and his kin. Brian Rosenwald has told the definitive story of how a squad of outrageous, rule-breaking right-wing radio hosts set the Republican Party agenda and then overtook the party itself. Scholarly and yet eminently readable, this book is indispensable for understanding the world conservative media wrought.”―David Greenberg, Rutgers University
“Upending conventional wisdom, Brian Rosenwald’s deeply researched book offers an incisive account of how conservative talk radio transformed American politics, altering the relationships between Congressional leaders and rank-and-file members, between activists and the party establishment, and between the demands of entertainment and the process of policymaking.”―Bruce J. Schulman, Boston University
“A brisk, well-researched history of the rise and transformation of talk radio…A vigorous analysis of contemporary politics.”―Kirkus Reviews
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