Matt Taibbi frames his campaign reporting with original essays that explore the seismic shift in how we perceive our national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country. Not just a postmortem on the collapse and failure of American democracy, INSANE CLOWN PRESIDENT offers a darkly comic, riveting, surreal, unique, and essential experience of seeing the future in hindsight.
Matt Taibbi’s first piece on the 2016 presidential election, published in August
2015, opens with these words: “The thing is, when you actually think about it, it’s
not funny. Given what’s at stake, it’s more like the opposite, like the first sign of
the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now,
when we’re all living like prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks, we’ll
probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end.”
The 2016 presidential contest as told by Taibbi, from its tragicomic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion, is in fact the story of Western civilization’s very own train wreck. Years before the clown car of candidates was fully loaded, Taibbi grasped the essential themes of the story: the power of spectacle over substance, or even truth; the absence of a shared reality; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism that would destroy what was left of the Kingian dream of a successful pluralistic society.