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American Political Thought

The Idea of "Extremism"

Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein’s new book about the dysfunctional state of American government, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, has been getting a lot of press lately.  I haven’t read it yet, but I have been struck by a word in the book’s subtitle — “How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism” — that, based on reviews and Mann and Ornstein’s own summaries of their argument, plays an important role in their diagnosis. As the subtitle suggests, “extremism” is very much the villain in Mann and Ornstein’s story about American politics.  Mann Read more