The Great Revolt – Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics – by Salena Zito and Brad Todd looks deeply into the Trump vote in the Midwestern counties that swung the vote to Trump. Salena Zito was noted for her astute observation that Trump’s supporters took him seriously but not literally and his opposition (from both parties) took him literally but not seriously.
Zito and Todd find a much different story than Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild. They combine survey results with personal interviews that put a face on the data.
About Zito- https://www.marathi.tv/political-analyst/salena-zito// . If not sympathetic Zito is at least genuinely curious about this change. She brings a journalist’s perspective, compared to Hochschild’s academic perspective. Todd has been involved in Republican political circles.
Most of the people she interviews voted for Obama twice and then switched to Trump. Often by wide margins. In Lee County, Iowa Obama won with a 16 point margin in 2012. Trump won with the same margin in 2016.
Obviously from this swing the vote was not motivated by race. In one Pa community they even embraced a rising immigrant population to replace the population loss. Immigration was not an issue here. One white woman had voted for Shirley Chisolm, Barak Obama, Ross Perot and Donald Trump. Other Trump fans remain very skeptical of the religious right wing of the GOP.
Another woman adopted and raised two black children she met when riding the school bus she drove.
Their enthusiasm for Trump was matched by their hatred for Hillary. It was amazing how many lifelong Democrats in this region intensely distrusted her and sported ‘lock her up’ bumper stickers. Her neglect of this region was a huge mistake- Donald Trump was there 3x as much.
One lifelong union worker got fed up with the unions and their corruption. He wondered why the union rep always showed up in a new Cadillac to sign a contract. I had noticed and commented on this with our experience with the union in the 1980’s.
This conservative white working class felt abandoned by the coastal elites from both parties. The MAGA and ‘Drain the Swamp’ slogans spoke loudly to them. They related to Trump’s politically incorrect statements. His multiple marriages did not affect many of these voters who had also experienced divorce. The fact that Trump had come back from financial adversity was something the could also relate to. One group in chapter four was labeled the Rough Rebounders.
The more Trump is attacked in the press the more they can relate to his being treated unfairly. Trump is performing as they had hoped and are more likely to vote for him again. The more these voters are described as racist and ignorant the more loyal they become to Trump.
The voters do not feel like ‘strangers in their own land’ has Hochschild describes. These voters are individual and independent. Many are small business owners, work multiple jobs and are active in their community.