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Perspective

'Democracy in Chains': How America's radical right played the long game

Historian Nancy MacClean has just published "Democracy in Chains", a book in which she looks at a group of ultra free-market thinkers who have been working to change the government systems of the United States since the 1950s. While Donald Trump was not part of their plan, MacLean says "there is no way Donald Trump would be in the White House were it not for their strategy", which includes gerrymandering and taking control of the judiciary. She joined us for Perspective to tell us more.

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Seeing democracy as a form of slavery in which taxes impinge on individual freedoms, our guest says James Buchanan, Charles Koch and other US conservatives have been working for decades to harness right-wing populists and get voters to the polls to back an agenda that will ultimately be detrimental to those same voters.

"In their own words they recognise that they are a permanent minority. The vast majority would never want to live in a world they are trying to bring in. Essentially they are carrying out a slow-motion quiet coup," MacLean told us, adding that nothing like it has been seen before in world history.

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