Amy Fried is John Mitchell Nickerson Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. She is the author of Muffled Echoes: Oliver North and the Politics of Public Opinion (Columbia, 1997) and Pathways to Polling: Crisis, Cooperation, and the Making of Public Opinion Professions (2012). Douglas B. Harris is professor of political science at Loyola University Maryland. He is coauthor of Choosing the Leader: Leadership Elections in the U.S. House of Representatives (2019) and The Austin-Boston Connection: Fifty Years of House Democratic Leadership, 1937-1989 (2009) and coeditor of Doing Archival Research in Political Science (2012).
'Distrust in government' is usually treated as an inexorable expression of public opinion, but this brilliant book takes a fresh approach. At War with Government offers a compelling analysis of current U.S. political travails and looks to a brighter future by spelling out a roadmap for citizen activists and public servants who aspire to rebuild faith in democratic government as an agent of the common good. -- Theda Skocpol, coeditor of <i>Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance</i> Distrust of government has become a key theme in American politics and its significance has only grown in recent years. In this important work, Amy Fried and Douglas Harris shed light on the origins of this distrust and how it is strategically promoted for partisan and ideological purposes. Anyone interested in the interplay between contemporary politics and policymaking needs to understand these dynamics, and At War With Government provides a crucial framework for making sense of it. -- Matthew Yglesias, author of <i>Slow Boring</i> and host of <i>The Weeds</i> In At War with Government, Amy Fried and Doug Harris systematically explore how the age-old tension between trust and distrust in government has been exploited by Republicans and their allies to promote disunity for naked political power. It is a powerful roadmap to navigating through today's dysfunction. -- Norman Ornstein, coauthor of <i>It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism</i> At War with Government advances the idea that Americans' distrust in government has not been the byproduct of various sociodemographic developments. On the contrary, this distrust has been developed strategically by Republican politicians and their allies in the media ecosystem. Scholars of American political development and historians of American politics will find great value in this book. -- Steven Webster, author of <i>American Rage: How Anger Shapes Our Politics</i> Americans' trust in government has been plummeting for decades, and not by accident. In this powerful and crucially important book, Amy Fried and Douglas B. Harris show how conservatives, over several decades, strategically cultivated political distrust and built a movement around it. Distrust has now taken on a life of its own, undermining the collective power required to address public problems. As politicians tap it to fuel grievances, it is proving deleterious to democratic governance itself. A must-read for those who seek to rebuild our torn political and social fabric. -- Suzanne Mettler, author of <i>Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracies</i>