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End the duopoly

Probing America’s electoral divide with political scientist Jacob Hacker

Jacob Hacker The 2016 election was a thrilling victory for the Republican Party, which seized the White House while maintaining majorities in both houses of Congress. Yet many of the economic and health policies the party champions in Washington have limited public support.

How has the GOP managed to hold power despite its unpopular positions? Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker argues that an unlikely but extremely effective alliance between plutocratic economic interests and right-wing populist forces allows the party to secure working-class votes while championing policies that favor corporations and the wealthy.

In their new book, “ Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Inequality ,” Hacker and co-author Paul Pierson of the University of California-Berkeley draw on decades of research to explain this political phenomenon and the threat it poses to American democracy.

Hacker, the Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, discussed the book with YaleNews. Interview condensed and edited.

You introduce the term “plutocratic populism” in the book. What does it mean?

Plutocratic populism describes how the Republican Party has combined organized money and organized outrage to win elections, tilt the playing field in their favor, and govern […]

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