A Must Read

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August 28, 2016 1:39 a.m.

Here’s an article which I strongly recommend you read. It’s by the veteran Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild and it’s a look at Trump supporters based on five years of field study. As the chronology makes clear, they didn’t start as Trump supporters. They began as the disaffected white voters who feel increasingly left behind in 21st century American, strangers in their own country. By and large they are the people who Trump rallied to his side to take the Republican nomination.

I think I’ve done a decent job in recent months analyzing and discussing what the Trump movement is about, who supports it, and so forth. But it’s all very much a 30,000 feet look, examining broad themes and trends in middle and working class white conservative politics. But Hochschild’s study is based on several years of in-depth interviews with dozens of people. It frank and unsentimental but also empathetic. The article is itself an excerpt or distillation of Hochschild’s new book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, which I haven’t read. I recommend the book on the basis of the article and Hochschild’s reputation. But if you don’t read the book, read the article. It’s critical to understand what the Trump movement is about and the direction of our politics generally.

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