Friday, October 14, 2022

"Demagogues in American Politics"

New from Oxford University Press: Demagogues in American Politics by Charles U. Zug.

About the book, from the publisher:

While demagoguery is traditionally regarded as destabilizing and dangerous, this book shows how it can also be used to advance the common good.

Most of us think that demagoguery is, by definition, bad. Relatedly, scholars almost invariably treat demagoguery as a divisive practice that appeals to what is worst in an audience at the expense of what is best for the public good. In Demagogues in American Politics, Charles U. Zug offers a historical analysis of the role of demagoguery in the American political system. Challenging the conventional wisdom, he argues that demagoguery is not an inherently bad form of leadership. Whereas classical thinkers had believed that demagoguery was always a threat to political order, the most sophisticated founders of the American Constitution-inspired by Enlightenment political philosophy-recognized that demagoguery, though dangerous, could be recruited by the Constitution to improve the political system. Through case studies drawn from the presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court, this book argues that demagogic leadership can be deployed by public officials to advance the aspirations of constitutional democracy.
Visit Charles U. Zug's website.

--Marshal Zeringue