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Isaac Dovere's "Battle for the Soul": How Democrats Beat Trump

Edward-Isaac Dovere is a staff writer and senior political correspondent at The Atlantic. (photo: The Atlantic)
Edward-Isaac Dovere is a staff writer and senior political correspondent at The Atlantic. (photo: The Atlantic)

(This conversation was originally aired on July 6, 2021)

Today, on this archive edition of Midday on Politicsa look back at last year’s chaotic and unpredictable Presidential election cycle.

In a new, comprehensive study of the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination, journalist Edward-Isaac Dovere reports that after losses in early primaries in the beginning of 2020, a despondent Joe Biden thought that his dream of becoming President was once again slipping away.

His campaign was broke and in disarray, and he appeared unable to navigate the chaotic nature of a crowded field. But then, with a boost from Congressman James Clyburn, Biden won the South Carolina primary, the first primary he had won in three tries for the Presidency, a victory that propelled him to the nomination.

In the general election, even though Biden was facing off against a candidate with a lengthy list of well-known negatives, Isaac Dovere reports one Democratic operative described Biden as “a rowboat with 7 holes in it.  We’ve got to hold on tight and hope he gets across the ocean.”   

So, why did Biden prevail and why did so many others falter? And even more importantly, is this the best way to choose a President?

Published by Viking/Penguin Random House

Edward-Isaac Dovere is a staff writer and lead political correspondent for The Atlantic.  He has written a sharp and terrific book about the 2020 campaign. It’s replete with great reporting and vivid descriptions of the machinations that took place behind the scenes and insights into how each campaign handled the unprecedented vagaries of this unusual race.

It’s called Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Trump. 

Isaac Dovere spoke with Tom about the book in early July on our digital line, from Washington, DC.  Because their conversation was recorded, we can’t take any new calls or on-line comments.   

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