Interview: Nicole Hemmer

The political historian talks to Mike Higgins about how Donald Trump has transformed the US midterm elections and the Republican party’s lurch further right.

The World Today
3 minute READ

Nicole Hemmer

Associate Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s
Nicole Hemmer, Basic Books, $18.99

In Partisans, you argue that the American political far right had been preparing the conditions for Donald Trump for 25 years and ‘the puzzle pieces snapped into place’ when he was nominated in 2016. What did you mean by that?

There were changes happening in plain sight over a quarter of a century. Such as the rise of presidential candidates who had never held elected office but who had a following in conservative media and cable news more broadly. There was also a turn towards pessimism, to connections with extreme groups and to procedural extremism in the Republican Party, such as the impeachment of Bill Clinton over what most Americans agreed was a small indiscretion.

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