'Clinton's Elections: 1992, 1996, and the Birth of a New Era of Governance'

Watch PrezFest 2019

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The Presidential Ideas Festival was held May 21-23, 2019.

About this video

October 14, 2020

Michael Nelson

Hosted by Russell Riley

Perhaps because Clinton’s presidency was hobbled by six years of divided government, ended in a sex scandal and impeachment, and was sandwiched between Republican administrations, it is easy to forget that he revived a presidential party that had become nearly moribund. In Clinton’s Elections Nelson describes how, by tacking relentlessly to the center, Clinton revived the Democrats’ presidential fortunes—but also, paradoxically, effectively erased the center, in the process introducing the new political reality of extreme partisan divisiveness and dysfunctional government. Tracing Clinton’s place in American politics from his emergence as a potential nominee in 1988 to his role in political campaigns right up to 2016, Nelson draws a deft portrait of a savvy politician operating in the midst of divided government and making strategic moves to consolidate power and secure future victories. With its absorbing narrative and incisive analysis, his book makes sense of a watershed in the modern American political landscape—and lays bare the roots of our current era of political dysfunction.