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Finish What We Started : The Maga Movement's Ground War to End Democracy - Isaac Arnsdorf

Finish What We Started

The Maga Movement's Ground War to End Democracy

By: Isaac Arnsdorf

Hardcover | 9 April 2024

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An explosive, behind-the-scenes look at how a radical group of activists -- supported by former President Trump and other radical members of the Republican Party -- have secretly compromised the electoral system, precinct by precinct, around the country without anyone noticing. The biggest threat to democracy going forward may not be coming out of Washington, but at the local level, across the country.

While the country remains focused on the gridlock in Washington, and how to properly think about the events of January 6th, a growing movement of activists have begun plotting around the country with one goal in mind: how to make the Big Lie a reality. Radicalized by Trump's stirring message of a stolen election, deluged by a tidal wave of propaganda, this national movement have moved beyond rhetoric and into action. They've begun capturing local precincts, installing like-minded insurgents, and have developed a new way forward: how to ensure, against all odds, that only their preferred candidates will win elections, now and in the future.

Isaac Arnsdorf has been at the vanguard of reporting on this growing movement for the past year. In September, for ProPublica, he broke the news of the "Precinct Strategy," revealing how the stolen election myth has inspired thousands of Republicans to infiltrate the party apparatus at the bottom rungs and use their positions to manipulate future elections. While journalists from across mainstream media have covered different aspects of the radicalized Right strategy, from the focus on "critical race theory" to the buildup of white militias, The Redeemers will follow the men and women who are driving this change, the people who are puppeteering them, and those who see the truth but don't know how to fight back against relentless misinformation and violent rhetoric.

Shocking, alarming, and full of breaking news, The Redeemers is the definitive story of how the insurgents will distort the most sacred institution of democracy: the electoral system itself.

Industry Reviews
"There have been several books about the Trumpification of the Republican Party focused on the politicians and operatives who allowed such a transformation to happen. "Finish What We Started" focuses instead on the ordinary foot soldiers in the MAGA grass roots -- the "faces in the crowd" who, in the aftermath of Jan. 6, continued to insist that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen and are determined to never let such an outrage happen again....Arnsdorf's book arrives at a moment when Democrats are warning that Trump and the MAGA movement are seeking to end democracy as we know it"--Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
"In Finish What We Started, Isaac Arnsdorf, a reporter at The Washington Post, offers the first extended examination of Trump's remarkable rise from the depths of his humiliation after the failed January 6 coup to his resurgence as the Republican front-runner... Filled with telling anecdotes and vivid prose, his book provides an essential guide to understanding Trump's political resilience. He suggests that the 2022 midterm elections were the closest America has come to being seized by a far right fringe that is redoubling its efforts to orchestrate an authoritarian seizure of power in 2024."--Jacob Heilbrunn, Washington Monthly
"Washington Post journalist Arnsdorf debuts with a raucous recap of the evolution of Trumpism since the 2020 election via the 'Precinct Strategy, ' a movement encouraging adherents to join the Republican Party's lowest ranks as precinct committeemen, from which vantage point they can oust moderate Republican leaders and promote MAGA primary candidates...It's an entertaining and insightful look at the Republican Party in extremis."--Publishers Weekly
"An eye-opening look at how a fringe effected a hostile takeover of a once-mainstream political party."--Kirkus
"Isaac has a great eye for a story, and hangs out with people we all need to know. I was thrilled to run some of the early reporting from this book on our radio show, and I'm sobered to see how it all played out in the months after. An entertaining, enlightening and disturbing book."--Ira Glass, host of This American Life
"Many have been surprised at the radicalization of the Republican Party by fringe extremists but Isaac Arnsdorf, a talented young political reporter has been ahead of this story from the start. Now, in vivid and chilling detail he takes readers inside the grassroots of the MAGA movement as its foot soldiers fight to take over not just the Republican Party, but the entire country. Anyone trying to understand how America has come to the brink of embracing authoritarianism in 2024 should read this engagingly told yet terrifying book."--Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
"Finish What We Started is a bracing, deeply reported dispatch from the front lines of the MAGA movement -- a movement that, as Isaac Arnsdorf convincingly shows here, is more radical and determined than ever as it gathers force for Trump's campaign to reclaim the White House."--Joshua Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Devil's Bargain
"This book is extraordinary. By turning the lens away from the palace intrigues that crowd far too many Trump books, patiently earning the trust of his most devoted grassroots followers to document without adornment what they actually say and think instead, Isaac Arnsdorf has provided an invaluable service for future historians. But you can read it now. And you must. Your jaw will drop. Even mine did."--Rick Perlstein, author of Reaganland
"Isaac Arnsdorf ventures beyond the punditry of Washington, D.C and delivers a revealing, distinctive look at how our nation's democracy might be forever changed. Peppered with scoops and fresh insight, Finish What We Started manages to be both spritely and ominous, a closely-reported depiction of the reorientation of modern politics." --Robert Samuels, New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer-Prize winning co-author of His Name is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice
"Isaac Arnsdorf is a political journalist par excellence, whose work is shaped by deep, immersive reporting, perceptive analysis and a keen understanding of history. Finish What We Started is a sophisticated yet unnerving portrait of the MAGA movement and a stark preview of what a second Trump term might portend. This is urgent and essential reading for anyone who cares about the state of America's democracy."--Philip Rucker, co-author of the New York Times bestselling A Very Stable Genius

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