A Word … With Jason Johnson

The Cruelty Was the Point. Is It Still?

Adam Serwer on how Donald Trump’s weaponized cruelty outlasted his presidency.


Episode Notes

Donald Trump’s combination of bigotry, lies, and meanness led to a victory that stunned political pundits in 2016. Atlantic writer Adam Serwer would go on to coin the phrase that summed up Trump’s appeal: the cruelty is the point. Serwer has collected his essays chronicling the Trump era in the new book The Cruelty is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump’s America, and joins host Jason Johnson to discuss it on this week’s episode of A Word.

Guest: Adam Serwer, staff writer for The Atlantic and author of The Cruelty is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump’s America.

Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel and Jasmine Ellis.


About the Show

America doesn’t need another conversation about race. At least, not the kind we’ve been having … the ones that are sparked by a crisis and move quickly from shock to empty promises to forgetting. No. What America needs are REAL conversations about race—ones that shine a light on the facts, the history, and the reality of how race plays out in our politics and society. That’s what Slate offers each week on A Word … with Jason Johnson. A veteran political commentator, Johnson will bring his incisive wit to thoughtful discussions with leaders, journalists, and other change-makers who will tell the truth about America’s challenges around race and offer ideas on the way forward.

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