Adam Serwer’s “The Cruelty Is the Point” Explores the Rise of Trump in America

In his new book, journalist Adam Serwer discusses the inherent cruelty of American politics and the Trump administration.

Former President Donald Trump has frequently been criticized for his brand of politics, wherein he degrades and mocks his political opponents. In fact, journalist Adam Serwer coined the phrase “the cruelty is the point” to describe Trump’s hostile comments toward Christine Blasey Ford in 2018. Serwer says cruelty is a staple of the Trump administration and American politics as a whole. 

“Trump highlighted the role of cruelty in American politics, but it’s a false sense of comfort to think that it’s all behind us now that he’s gone.” — Adam Serwer, author of “The Cruelty is The Point”

Listen: Adam Serwer on his new book “The Cruelty is The Point.”


Adam Serwer is a staff writer at The Atlantic. His new book is “The Cruelty is The Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump’s America,” a collection of essays that delves into the inherent and systemic cruelty of the Trump administration. “What I’m focused on in the book is cruelty as a part of politics,” says Serwer. “Specifically the way that it has been used in the past to demonize certain groups so you can justify denying people their basic rights under the constitution and exclude them from the political process.”

Serwer explains that cruelty is a human response to inequity. “We live in a very unequal country where a growing minority of people are hoarding a substantial amount of wealth and so it makes sense that people have genuine problems and they’re angry about them. That’s justified,” he says, “What’s not justified is then deciding that you are going to respond to that by disenfranchising or hurting vulnerable communities.”

Although the book focuses on the Trump era, Serwer says that the issue of cruelty extends beyond the Trump administration in American politics. “Trump highlighted the role of cruelty in American politics, but it’s a false sense of comfort to think that it’s all behind us now that he’s gone,” he says. 

Web story written by Molly Ryan

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