Finish What We Started: The MAGA Movement’s Ground War To End Democracy

Little, Brown. Apr. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780316497510. $30. POL SCI
Washington Post national political reporter Arnsdorf delves into the origins and evolution of the Trump-inspired Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement. He interviewed hundreds of people over the course of three years to examine what motivates and stirs the MAGA supporters into action. A big factor is their strong dissatisfaction and desire to dismantle traditional political parties. He discusses the perceived leadership traits of Donald Trump but stresses that the MAGA movement is more than devotion to one man. For example, Steve Bannon is a provocative presence throughout the book, along with other prominent far-right figures. The lesser-known Dan Schultz emerges as a key figure as well. The heart of the book is a blow-by-blow account of how MAGA candidates took over the Republican Party in Maricopa County, AZ, using a precinct strategy devised by Schultz. He also writes at length about Salleigh Grubbs, a Republican Party worker in Georgia. She worked tirelessly to try to invalidate Biden’s victory there in 2020.
VERDICT This eye-opening, often terrifying (for democracy advocates) debut work is rich with political history and recent case studies. Highly recommended for readers wanting to understand how millions of Americans have been swept up in the MAGA universe.
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