Summary of How American Politics Went Insane

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Writing for The Atlantic, Brookings Institution senior fellow Jonathan Rauch examines the political environment that led to the rise of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. Rauch argues that “chaos syndrome” made it possible. He explores the political reforms that paved the way for the ongoing turmoil in Congress, a cynical public disgruntled with career politicians and “political sociopaths” running for president. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends this analysis to political junkies interested in the inner workings of the US Congress and US politics in general.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How “chaos syndrome” has affected the US political system,
  • How political middleman previously protected the system, and
  • What potential solutions could fix the ongoing problems.

About the Author

Jonathan Rauch works as a contributing editor for The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.



The US political system is broken; the rise of “political sociopaths” like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz is evidence thereof. Their popularity isn’t a fluke, but a sign of a “chaos syndrome” – a self-reinforcing phenomenon causing governmental malfunction, fueling public outrage and leading to political disruption. To understand the breakdown, imagine the political system as an immune system; think of the US Constitution as the system’s DNA and the parties, machines and political brokers as the RNA. For the latter, middlemen – including state and national party...

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    anthony Allen 3 years ago
    Considering Clinton endorsed much of Sanders platform, we can no longer consider his ideas "fringe".