Support 100 years of independent journalism.

How did US politics become so polarised? With Nick Bryant

The veteran journalist and author turns to history to understand the country’s polarised present.

On Monday 8 August the FBI launched an unprecedented search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Agents were reportedly searching for classified documents, including those related to nuclear weapons. The raid has prompted Republican officials to condemn the Department of Justice and fuelled speculation that Trump will pursue a presidential run in 2024.

Emily Tamkin speaks to Nick Bryant, the former BBC New York correspondent and author of When America Stopped Being Great: A History of the Present, which is released in paperback by Bloomsbury on 18 August.

They talk about the reaction to the raid from the US right, as well as what paved the way for Trump’s political rise, covering post-Cold War optimism and the scandal-wracked Nineties, and how the billionaire became a working-class hero. They also discuss whether Ronald Reagan was the “godfather of polarisation”, and if this division is here to stay after these recent dramatic events.

Further reading:

Emily Tamkin argues that the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort was the rule of law in action.

Emily Tamkin asks is everything coming up good for Joe Biden?

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
THANK YOU

Emily Tamkin writes Republicans, this is why you wait for more information.

Content from our partners
How industry is key for net zero
How to ensure net zero brings good growth and green jobs
Flooding is a major risk for our homes

How to listen to the World Review podcast

1. In your browser

You can use the player above to listen in your browser right now. The World Review podcast publishes on Monday and Thursdays. All episodes are published to newstatesman.com/podcasts on the day of release.

2. In a podcast app

World Review is available on all major podcast apps including Apple PodcastsSpotifyAcastGoogle Podcasts, and more. Search “World Review” in your favourite podcast app, and subscribe or follow to make sure you receive episodes as soon as they publish. While you’re there, please leave a review for the podcast – it helps others find the show, which in turn makes it possible for us to keep making it.

3. On your smart speaker

If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod smart speaker, ask it to “play the latest episode of World Review”. The same command also works with virtual assistants on mobile devices.