Thursday, June 24, 2021
‘Tuesday Night Massacre’ Traces the Radicalization of the Republican Party
Wednesday, April 28, 2021


There’s been a lot said about the radicalization of the Republican party this year.

Marc C. Johnson can trace it all the way back to 1980 when four key senators were defeated, including Idaho’s Frank Church.

Johnson tells the story of the beginnings of the divisive partisanship that has become the elephant lurking in the living room of modern-day American politics in his book “Tuesday Night Massacre: Four Senate Elections and the Radicalization of the Republican Party.”

And he will discuss his findings in a Livestream conversation at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 29. Johnson will talk about the book, then be joined in conversation by Martha Williams, Community Library’s programs and education manager.

Johnson is a former broadcast journalist who served as chief of staff for Cecil Andrus, Idaho’s longest -serving governor.

His book connects the dots between the Goldwater era of the 1960s and the ascent of Donald Trump. It examines the defeat in 1980 of Idaho’s Frank Church, South Dakota’s George McGovern, Iowa’s John Culver and Indiana’s Birch Bayh. Their defeat ushered out those who wanted to use politics for the good of the nation and ushered in a new crop of senators intent on saying “No,” or even “Hell no,” Johnson said.

His book also charts the rise of the independent expenditure campaign with its divisive negative techniques—a change Johnson says has deeply warped the culture of bipartisanship that once prevailed in American politics.

Johnson authored an earlier book “Political Hell-Raiser: The Life and Times of Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana” in 2019. He also has published articles on politics and history in the New York Times and in the blog Many Things Considered.

Tune in for Thursday’s talk at


The Community Library, one of the first in the country to reopen following the initial stages of the COVID pandemic, will open again on Saturdays beginning this Saturday, May 1.

The library will now be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Masks and social distance are still required.


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