"Has become the party of obstructionism, blame, and defiance. And in the past five years, it has become a nefarious, deceitful, fascist, and autocratic party."
In the most simple yet poignant and profound of ways, the author uses his knowledge of human development along one’s lifespan to eviscerate the modern rendition of the Republican Party. While undoubtedly acknowledging the tremendous value that Republicans have brought to the US legislative landscape since the days of Lincoln, he unflinchingly details reason after reason why, from a psychosocial perspective, the GOP is currently in utter dysfunction.
The matter-of-fact style Brubaker employs is both informational and highly entertaining. Right from the get-go, he dives into the difference between fact and fiction and how the Republican party, spearheaded by Donald Trump, has strayed so far away from the fact side. With the infinite amount of name-calling, the depiction of the party as a bunch of five-year-olds comes across as not all that unreasonable, particularly when Brubaker breaks down what the neuropsychological development of children ages two to five looks like.
Perhaps what is most intriguing about this work is that it is deeply rooted in science and fact. Brubaker intentionally delineates his repertoire of psychology terminology to help audiences understand and ultimately see how it aligns with the current Republican Party. One of the areas his work focuses on is verification, whereby one can prove the validity of what is in question. In one instance, the text dissects the behind-the-scenes development of vaccine development during COVID-19 and very clearly discredits Trump’s ownership of the speediness of the vaccines while attributing it to the National Institute of Health. Digging deeper, Brubaker explains the spectrum of truth, from facts and quasi-facts to fiction and myth. Potentially the most dangerous on the spectrum is the conspiracy theory that is often targeted to the least informed and easily trusting minds.
Highlighted by temper tantrums, a member or two of the party certainly exhibited behavior associated with the terrible twos. Further, exploring the DSM-5, Brubaker introduces a number of disorders, specifically paranoid personality disorder, and allows audiences to clearly understand the mindset of a psychopath and sociopath, especially in relation to a criminal mindset. The scientific discussion of the biopsychosocial impels audiences to familiarize themselves with terms like herd psychology and social identity theory. Pinpointing them directly to the Trump administration becomes an inevitability in the narrative.
However, contrary to its title, the work focuses less on eviscerating the Republican party outright and more on providing scientific, psychological, and historical context to gain a deep understanding of how events like January 6, 2021, could transpire and even how a former president can still be considered the leading candidate of the Republican Party despite the havoc he has allegedly caused. Astoundingly, the author references a similar takeover by one Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, who led a coup to take over the local government in Munich. On the surface, the incessant lies to media outlets at a breakneck pace sent Trump and the GOP into a spiral, but beneath it, Brubaker examines the sociopathic behavior of crucial Trump supporters like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and assesses the trajectory of a party whose tenets on democracy are largely unrecognized and actions still largely imbued with hate speech, anger, and pettiness.
As the text progresses and after Brubaker has established a deep analysis of the Republican Party’s choices, a greater focus on Trump himself is brought to light. From delusions of grandeur that see Trump thinking he is above the Constitution itself to a maniacal obsession with President Obama’s birth certificate, example after example outline how Trump symbolizes the dysfunction that has consumed the Republican Party of the twenty-first century. Overall, Brubaker has delivered one compelling insight after another without ever making the reader feel as though they are reading a textbook. This work has tremendous information, resulting in undeniable clarity that uncloaks the Republican Party’s dysfunction and helps audiences understand it from an acutely psychological perspective.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
- Mihir Shah, US Review of Books