Politics & Polls #212: Writing About the Trump Era (Carlos Lozada)

Dec 08 2020
By B. Rose Huber
Topics Politics
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

Donald Trump’s presidency has undoubtedly changed American political history, which many authors — from historians to journalists — have tried to capture. In essence, books on presidencies are the first drafts of history, and those on President Trump provide a keen look into a truly unique administration.

One of those authors joins Julian Zelizer in this episode to discuss: Carlos Lozada MPA ’97, who this year penned “What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era.” The book tells the story of how we understand ourselves in the Trump era, using the political ideas and debates at play in America today as its main characters.

Lozada is the nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and the National Book Critics Circle citation for excellence in reviewing. Previously, he has served as the Post's economics editor, national security editor, and Outlook editor.

*This episode was recorded on Oct. 19, 2020, as a virtual webinar sponsored by Princeton SPIA.


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.