Watson Institute at Brown University
Stone Inequality Initiative

Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality

Telling a forty-year story, Hacker and Pierson demonstrate that since the early 1980s, when inequality started spiking, extreme tax cutting, union busting, and deregulation have gone hand in hand with extreme race-baiting, outrage stoking, and disinformation. Instead of responding to the real challenges facing voters, the Republican Party offers division and distraction, most prominently, in the racist, nativist bile of the president's Twitter feed. As Hacker and Pierson argue, Trump isn't a break with the GOP's recent past. On the contrary, he embodies its tightening embrace of plutocracy and right-wing extremism, a dynamic Hacker and Pierson call "plutocratic populism." As Trump and his far-right allies spew hatred and lies, Republicans in Congress and in statehouses attack social programs and funnel more and more money to the top 0.1 percent of Americans. Far from being at war with each other, reactionary plutocrats and right-wing populists have become the two faces of a party that now actively undermines democracy to achieve its goals against the will of the majority of Americans. Drawing on decades of research, Hacker and Pierson authoritatively explain the doom loop of tax cutting and fearmongering that characterizes our era, and reveal how we can fight back.