COVID-19 Is Magnifying the ‘Politics of Division’

Zócalo's 2019 Book Prize Winner Warns That Democracies Must Embrace the Politics of Hope and Unity 

The COVID-19 pandemic has come at a critical historical moment. For the last two decades or so—since the collapse of the Soviet Union and communist rule in Eastern Europe—we have seen a growing erosion of liberal democracy in the West.

The reasons for this are complex and related. The disappearance of an alternative and competing political-ideological system has accelerated the accumulation of wealth and political power in ever narrower circles. This has greatly undermined the middle class, which feels, rightly, that it has been left behind. And younger generations have grown angry that, …

How San Diego’s Worst Politician Ended Up in the White House | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How San Diego’s Worst Politician Ended Up in the White House

Peter Navarro’s Sudden Influence Shows What Happens When Anger and Accusation Dominate the Nation’s Conversation

In the 20th century, we learned the Peter Principle: if you seek to rise in a hierarchy, you’ll get promoted until you reach your level of incompetence.

In the 21st century, …

When Americans Fell in Love With the Ideal of ‘One World’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When Americans Fell in Love With the Ideal of ‘One World’

In 1943, Failed Presidential Candidate Wendell Willkie Advanced a Strikingly Anti-Racist, Anti-Colonial Plan to Bring the Planet Together

What do you think of when you think of the phrase “one world?” Chances are it sounds like a vague gesture of unity or worldly inclusivity, like a stock phrase …

The Precarious Career of Hattie Caraway, America’s First Woman Senator | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Precarious Career of Hattie Caraway, America’s First Woman Senator

Elected to the ‘World's Most Exclusive Club’ From Arkansas in 1932, Caraway Was Ignored by Her Peers But Hounded by the Press

The first woman elected to the United States Senate is not a household name. That woman, Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas, kept a very low profile. She is not considered …

When Philadelphia’s Foul-Mouthed Cop-Turned-Mayor Invented White Identity Politics | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When Philadelphia’s Foul-Mouthed Cop-Turned-Mayor Invented White Identity Politics

From 1972 to 1980, Frank Rizzo Led a Blue-Collar Backlash Against Civil Rights—in the Guise of Law-and-Order

Philadelphia’s City Hall was the largest municipal building in the United States when it opened in 1901. Its most outstanding feature towered 548 feet above the street below: a …

When American Politicos First Weaponized Conspiracy Theories

Outlandish Rumors Helped Elect Presidents Jackson and Van Buren and Have Been With Us Ever Since

From claims that NASA faked the moon landing to suspicions about the U.S. government’s complicity in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Americans love conspiracy theories. Conspiratorial rhetoric in …