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The Architects of "Toxic Politics"

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, June 10, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1D0055
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This online program is presented on Zoom.
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With the 2024 presidential race in full swing, many Americans are troubled by the caustic nature of today's campaigns. The reality is vitriol has been at play from the beginning of the Republic.

Among the past architects of negative politics are character assassin J.T. Callender, who spread salacious tales about Thomas Jefferson and other Founders; candidates Jefferson and John Adams and their partisans in their vicious battle for the presidency in 1800; and Andrew Jackson's no-holds-barred campaigns in the mid-1800s.

Today, the same phenomenon is undermining our public life again. It's getting worse because so many people believe leaders aren't listening to them or protecting their interests, and they turn to verbal attacks to express their grievances. This caustic political climate has been intensified over the years by the news media and social media—inherently attracted to conflict and outrage—and by a variety of political provocateurs, merchants of discord, and peddlers of anger including some presidents and their followers. All this erodes respect for the truth and the law and undermines key institutions, promotes hate, fuels anger and can lead to violence.

Drawing on his career as a journalist specializing in presidential coverage, veteran White House correspondent, historian, and author Ken Walsh explores the history of poison politics in America and highlights the figures who helped shape the modern landscape.

His book The Architects of Toxic Politics in America: Venom and Vitriol (Routledge) is available for purchase.

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