Politics & Polls #205: How the Right Rules (Jacob Hacker)

Oct 15 2020
By B. Rose Huber
Topics Politics
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

The Republican Party seems to be divided: Is it the old guard, advocating for small government and tax cuts? Or has it moved into more of an America-first, isolationist space under the leadership of President Donald Trump?

In this episode, Jacob Hacker of Yale University joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang to discuss how the current combination of plutocratic economic priorities and right-wing populist appeals threatens the pillars of American democracy. This is the subject of Hacker’s latest book with Paul Pierson of the University of California at Berkeley: “Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality.”

Hacker is the Stanley B. Resor Professor at Yale University and director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies. He is known for his research and writings regarding health policy, especially his development of the so-called public option.


Wang is a professor at Princeton University, appointed in neuroscience with affiliate appointments in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Center for Information Technology Policy. An alumnus of Caltech, where he received a B.S. with honors in physics, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine. He conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University Medical Center and at Bell Labs Lucent Technologies. He has also worked on science and education policy for the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He is noted for his application of data analytics and poll aggregation to American politics. He is leading an effort at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to build a 50-state data resource for legislative-quality citizen redistricting. His work to define a state-level legal theory to limit partisan gerrymandering recently won Common Cause’s Gerrymandering Standard Writing Contest. His neuroscience research concerns how the brain learns from sensory experience in early life, adulthood and autism.

Zelizer has been among the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a CNN political analyst. He has written more than 900 op-eds, including his popular weekly column for CNN.com and The Atlantic. This year, he is the distinguished senior fellow at the New York Historical Society, where he is writing a biography of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel for Yale University's Jewish Lives Series. He is the author and editor of more than 19 books including, “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society,” the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. In January 2019, Norton published his new book, co-authored with Kevin Kruse, “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974.” In spring 2020, Penguin Press will publish his other book, “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party.” He has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation and New America.