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Samuel L. Popkin

Warwick’s presents
Samuel L. Popkin
in conversation with Lorie Hearn


Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 6:00pm PST

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This is a free virtual event on Facebook Live. Please consider purchasing CRACKUP through Warwick's to support the author and our virtual events program.

This is a free virtual event on Facebook Live. RSVP HERE!

On Tuesday, November 16th at 6:00pm PST Warwick's will host Samuel L. Popkin as he discusses his new book, Crackup: The Republican Implosion and the Future of Presidential Politics, in conversation with Lorie Hearn. Samuel Popkin is professor emeritus of political science at UCSD. Prior to that he taught at Yale, Harvard and the University of Texas.  He received his B.S. in Mathematics and Political Science and his Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT.  Dr. Popkin is author of The Candidatewhich the New York Times hailed as a “management bible for the business of presidential campaigning” and an Editor’s Choice.  Dr. Popkin's previous book, The Reasoning Voter, has been hailed as a "classic" by Joe Klein in Time magazine and is widely cited in Washington. Dr. Popkin has consulted for polling, targeting and strategy in the presidential campaigns of Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George McGovern and was part of a group of decision theorists advising the Obama campaign in 2012as well as consulting for polling with CBS News and YouGov. Dr. Popkin also played Ronald Reagan for Jimmy Carter in the practice debates held before the 1980 Carter-Reagan debate.

In Crackup, the eminent American politics scholar Samuel L. Popkin tells the story of how the Republican Party fractured into uncompromising groups with irreconcilable demands. Changes in campaign finance laws and the proliferation of mass media opened the way for newly energized groups to split the party. The 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill aimed to weaken the power of big corporations and strengthen political parties by ending corporate donations to the parties. Instead, it weakened legislative leaders and made bipartisanship toxic.

Popkin argues that moving money outside the political parties fueled the rise of single-issue advocacy groups and Super PACs funded by billionaires with pet issues. This allowed self-promoting politicians to undermine colleagues with an unprecedented use of tactics once only used to disrupt the other party. One such politician was Ted Cruz, who effectively promoted himself at the expense of the party, mobilized other obstructionists in Congress, and blocked compromises on immigration and healthcare. Into this abyss came Donald J. Trump, who took advantage of the party's inability to do anything for Republican voters struggling with economic decline. No other candidate, when forced to try to satisfy the irreconcilable demands of major donors and party leaders, could offer a credible alternative to his moon-promising bravado.

A gripping structural explanation of why the GOP ended up with Trump as their standard bearer, Crackup forces us to look at the deeper forces set in motion two decades ago. It also reveals how self-fashioned rebels like Cruz are inevitable given the new rules of the game. Unless the system for financing elections changes, we will continue to see opportunists emerge - in both parties - to block intra-party compromise.

Lorie Hearn is a life-long news-aholic and truth seeker. Her passion is investigative, accountability journalism, the type that holds powerful people to answer to the public. She founded inewsource, an award-winning investigative nonprofit newsroom, in 2009, after decades of reporting and editing in newspapers on both coasts. inewsource stories can be heard and seen regularly on KPBS and CBS8, and nationally through partnerships with NPR, PBS Newshour and the USA Today network. Lorie retired from The San Diego Union-Tribune, where she had been a reporter, Metro Editor and finally the senior editor for Metro and Watchdog Journalism. Reporters and editors on her staff were part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stories that exposed Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham and led to his imprisonment for taking bribes from government contractors. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Lorie was a Nieman Foundation fellow at Harvard University in 1994-95.

Crackup: The Republican Implosion and the Future of Presidential Politics Cover Image
ISBN: 9780190913823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - May 19th, 2021