New Times,
New Thinking.

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 Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • 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
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

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

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 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.

Content from our partners
We need an urgent review of UK pensions
The future of private credit
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors