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Perspective on the Election

Wed, 11/04/2020 - 18:56

If you're going to talk to someone in the aftermath of what's shaping up to be the most confounding presidential election in two decades, Julian Zelizer is your man.

The CNN political analyst and Princeton professor of history and political affairs is also the author of books about Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, and, just this summer, a certain influential onetime member of Congress: "Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party."

That's the book he'll be highlighting in a Zoom talk with David M. Alpern on Tuesday at 5 p.m. through the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton. Mr. Alpern, a former senior editor at Newsweek and host of radio shows including "Newsweek on Air," wrote this hook in reviewing "Burning Down the House" for The Star: "How in the world did Donald Trump seduce, enslave, or essentially transform the Grand Old Party — as staid, sensible Republicans once called it?"

In light of Tuesday night's paper-thin election returns, it's a question more pertinent than ever, the Gingrich connection hinted at in something Barack Obama said almost exactly four years ago: "Donald Trump is not an outlier; he is the culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party for the past 10, 15, 20 years." And Representative Gingrich of Georgia's Sixth District paved the way.

Mr. Zelizer and Mr. Alpern both live in Sag Harbor. Registration is at


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