Aaaand…I’m back. Political coverage was what I built this platform for, and now that Public Seminar has a dedicated Substack, Political Junkie is free to carry out the mission. I will still be putting selected Public Seminar content right on your desktop, but there are 90 days to go until November 3, when Americans have the chance to dump the Wretch in Chief.
As always, scroll to the bottom if you wish to unsubscribe, or stay here and fasten your seatbelts, as Margo Channing might have said: it’s going to be a bumpy fight.
As I am figuring out where to jump in first, here’s some reading to bide the time away:
Get a taste of my new book, Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy (Basic Books) at The Bulwark. (August 2, 2020) Hint: it’s about why I was right about the #CovingtonBoys, and you were wrong.
OK, you know me, and I am not a Ross Douthat fan, sometimes because he makes excuses for bankrupt conservative policies, and often because he mistakes moralism for politics. But today’s column about why the GOP is fatally broken and sapped of vision, its leadership fantasizing about dumping Trump and returning to its pre-2016 Mercer-funded exploitation politics, is dead on. (New York Times, August 4, 2020)
It’s about the money, honey, and it was never about the athletes. But you knew that: Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria at Popular Information explain why D-I college football is still on track amid a pandemic. Could somebody regulate these crooks, please? (“Greed infects college football,” August 4, 2020)
At Persuasion, social scientists James L. Gibson and Joseph L. Sutherland argue that Americans of all political stripes are self-censoring more than ever, and it’s not good for democracy. Self-censorship, they write, is produced by and encourages “the development of a culture of orthodoxy that is animated by a false sense of certainty about what is true and what is false—and a proud intolerance of those who might dare to voice an opinion that conflicts with the mainstream.” (July 31, 2020)
Claire Potter is co-executive editor of Public Seminar, Professor of History at The New School for Social Research, and author of Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy (Basic Books, 2020). You can tweet with her @TenuredRadical.