George Packer

George Packer
George Packer is a staff writer for The Atlantic. He is the author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America and the forthcoming Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

    The Corruption of the Republican Party

    The GOP is best understood as an insurgency that carried the seeds of its own corruption from the start.

  • George Packer Responds to Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Joshua Roberts / Reuters

    There’s a lot to admire in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay. It’s one of those pieces that grabs you with its first paragraph and never lets go. The argument keeps gathering force, building on the striking imagery (“Trump cracked the glowing amulet open”) and the caustic scouring of the polemics (opioids are treated as a sickness, crack was punished as a crime), to the very end. At its heart is the undeniable truth that racism remains fundamental in American politics.

    It’s the overwhelming, the single cause that Coates finds for the phenomenon of Donald Trump. It’s a cause no one in America should ever bet against. And it shapes every premise Coates lays down. Because he takes all white American political behavior as undifferentiated and founded on the idea of race, he faults me for writing a preelection essay in The New Yorker about the white working class. Since a majority of all categories of white people ended up voting for Trump, why single out white voters without college degrees, unless it’s to absolve them of their racism by invoking other factors, like class? Or worse, to extend them sympathy, since they’ve fallen into the lower depths where, unlike black Americans, they don’t “naturally” belong? Or, worse still, to absolve myself?