Summary of Why the Right Went Wrong

Conservatism – From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond

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Why the Right Went Wrong book summary
On the verge of Trump’s presidency, a Washington Post columnist examines 50 years of right-wing politics.


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Just months before the election of Donald J. Trump as America’s next president, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne asked how American conservatism changed so deeply. He explores how it became more radical, and whether that philosophy threatens the Republican Party and the American governing process. Dionne concludes that the modern Tea Party is nothing new. He finds that conservatives and the GOP chose a fateful path by nominating Barry Goldwater in 1964 and embracing his ideology. Since then, Dionne finds, no Republican president or presidential candidate has satisfied or harnessed the right wing’s extreme philosophical purity. While always politically neutral, getAbstract suggests Dionne’s history and analysis to those concerned about US politics and participatory democracy. Since conservatives will control the White House and Congress beginning in 2017, applying his analysis will be quite intriguing.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How American conservatism radicalized since 1964,
  • How this radicalization made governing the US more difficult, and
  • What conservatives and progressives can do to break the gridlock.


Reagan, Goldwater and the Bushes
Current American conservatism traces back to Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful 1964 presidential candidacy. When right-wing candidates pay homage to Ronald Reagan, they espouse the views of Goldwater, consciously or not. Goldwater sought to loosen the...
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About the Author

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. provides analysis on current affairs on MSNBC, ABC News’ This Week, and National Public Radio. He is the best-selling author of Why Americans Hate Politics and Our Divided Political Heart. He is a professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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    Susan Ring 3 months ago
    Okay, so the summary shows that the right wing completely shot themselves in the foot the further right they went. but use of unexplained acronym GOP does not make this summary useful to understand who is doing what to whom

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