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Series: Politics Today
Author: Edward Ashbee

The book introduces the principles underpinning the US Constitution and, on the basis of this, surveys core federal institutions: Congress, the presidency, and the US Supreme Court and lower courts. The different chapters outline the defining features of each and introduce some of the core scholarly debates about their powers and performance. The book also considers processes of political participation through elections, parties, and organised interests. It looks, in particular, at the changing nature of voting behaviour, the reasons why electoral turnout levels are comparatively low, and the different reasons why Donald Trump secured the presidency in the 2016 contest. It also considers the character of the party system and claims that organised interests, particularly groups representing those at the highest ends of the income and wealth scales, play a disproportionate role in the US system. The book thereby offers a guide to debates about the democratic ‘health’ of the contemporary US. The final chapter places the study of US politics in a comparative and theoretical context. It suggests that comparative approaches are essential if political developments and processes are to be fully understood. It then considers the value of employing theoretical frameworks in the study of politics and explores the ways in which structural theories, approaches drawing upon representations of political culture, and rational choice perspectives can explain political outcomes.

Justin A. Joyce

Recounting the failures of the United States to adequately address the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting on the parade of mendacity that has encapsulated the 45th presidency, and interpreting Baldwin’s call to be responsible to our children, Justin A. Joyce introduces the sixth volume of James Baldwin Review.

James Baldwin Review
Rape and Marriage in Go Tell It on the Mountain
Porter Nenon

To consider how James Baldwin resisted racialized notions of sexuality in his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, I employ a number of black feminist critics—including Saidiya Hartman, Patricia Williams, Hortense Spillers, and Patricia Hill Collins—to analyze three under-studied minor characters: Deborah, Esther, and Richard. Those three characters are best understood as figures of heterosexual nonconformity who articulate sophisticated and important critiques of rape and marriage in America at the turn of the twentieth century. Baldwin thus wrote subversive theories of race and sexuality into the margins of the novel, making its style inextricable from its politics. Baldwin’s use of marginal voices was a deft and intentional artistic choice that was emancipatory for his characters and that remains enduringly relevant to American sexual politics. In this particularly polarizing transition from the Obama era to the Donald J. Trump presidency, I revisit Baldwin’s ability to subtly translate political ideas across fault lines like race, nationality, and sex.

James Baldwin Review
José Luís Fiori

) The White House published the new ‘National Security Strategy of the United States of America’ at the end of 2017, as the first year of President Donald Trump’s mandate was coming to an end ( The White House, 2017 ). It is a broad declaration, which defines the principal interests of the US and the actions that will be undertaken to protect national security against every kind of threat, from all over the world. It would be a mistake to treat this as just one more periodic document produced for bureaucratic purposes. The strategy was developed by

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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An outline of Trumpian psychotechnics
Paul K. Jones

It is hardly surprising that Donald Trump's rise to political power has been interpreted in terms of his demagogy and what many believe is his self-evidently narcissistic conduct. The latter charge, however, has mainly been applied in its common sense meaning of conspicuously craven vanity. 1 With rare exceptions, the invocations of ‘demagogue’ follow the ‘journalistic’ usage that Kazin claimed was the root source of all subsequent critical intellectual invocations. 2

in Critical theory and demagogic populism
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A study in failure
Author: James L. Newell

This book is about one of the most remarkable European politicians of recent decades, the four times Italian prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, and about his contribution to the dramatic changes that have overtaken Italian politics since the early 1990s. Since 2013 Berlusconi’s career seems to have entered a new and possibly final phase, in which he is occupied less frequently in setting the political agenda than in reacting to agendas set by others. Consequently, the time is now right to consider his legacy, and how and why he has changed, or failed to change, Italian politics in the period since his emergence. The basic question underlying the book is thus: from the vantage point of 2017, would Italian political history of the past twenty-five years look substantially different had Berlusconi not had the high-profile role in it that he did? Ultimately, we can never conclusively answer such a question; but asking it makes it possible to contribute to a broader debate in recent years concerning the significance of leaders in post-Cold War democratic politics. Having considered Berlusconi’s legacy in the areas of political culture, voting and party politics, public policy and the quality of Italian democracy, the book concludes by considering the international significance of the Berlusconi phenomenon in relation to the recent election of Donald Trump, with whom Berlusconi is often compared. The book will appeal to anyone with an interest in Berlusconi the man, in Italian politics or in the growing significance of populist leaders.

Editor’s Introduction
Juliano Fiori

rewarded with record approval ratings. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, a captain of the Army Reserve, was recently elected president; he publicly pays homage to former military dictators and torturers, and his talk of gunning down opponents has provided licence for the spread of political violence. The election of Donald Trump in the US, in November 2016, was a watershed for electoral politics, giving global significance to rightward shifts elsewhere. With Trump in the White House, the US itself has become the greatest threat to the liberal order it

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Fernando Espada

of coronavirus cases in real time were not long ago scanning Twitter feeds in dread of the moment when US President Donald Trump would make good on his promise to unleash ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’. Fortunately for life on earth, two summits, a ‘very beautiful letter’ to Trump from Kim Jong Un and a brief encounter between the two leaders in the Korean Demilitarised Zone appear to have delayed the moment of truth. However, as Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings and Lauren Harris explain in ‘The Impact of Sanctions against North Korea on Humanitarian Aid’, the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Stanley R. Sloan

“I alone can fix it.” Donald J. Trump, accepting Republican nomination for President of the United States 1 The second major 2016 shock for transatlantic relations came in the United States with the Republican nomination and then electoral victory of Donald Trump – someone who had selfidentified as both a Democrat and Republican over the years and donated money to candidates of both parties. Trump raised concerns throughout the campaign as someone who played on the fears of Americans concerning both terrorism and their own financial well

in Transatlantic traumas
David Rieff

as far as Colin Powell when he told an assembly of relief NGOs that they were a ‘tremendous force multiplier’ for the US military, but even in the Donald Trump administration that sense of things is by no means wholly absent. But if the view from Washington, Brussels, etc. may not have changed that much, the view of Washington, Brussels, etc., most certainly has. For all its bad faith, its selective implementation and, in the battle spaces of the Long War, its instrumentalisation in the service of military strategy, development aid from the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs