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Last week, Thomas Frank welcomed Paul Krugman to the ranks of those who believe that the American working-class in recent decades has often voted against its fundamental economic interests by supporting conservative Republicans. Appropriately enough, Frank then chastises Krugman for having repeatedly used his New York Times column to argue exactly the opposite, denying the […]

The Guardian reports that “white and wealthy voters gave victory to Donald Trump.” Of the one in three Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year, a majority voted for Clinton. A majority of those who earn more backed Trump. Yes, that’s right, according to the CNN exit polls (as in the top chart above). Both […]

There are a few chroniclers of the American condition I’ve turned to and cited over the years, journalists whose reporting helps us make sense of the current economic and political predicament in the United States—especially the condition of the working-class and the rejection of much mainstream thinking during the current presidential campaign. They include Thomas Frank, […]

Is education the solution to the problem of growing inequality? As I wrote in early 2015, Americans like to think that education is the solution to all economic and social problems. Including, of course, growing inequality. Why? Because focusing on education—encouraging people to get more higher education—involves no particular tradeoffs. More education for some doesn’t mean […]

I certainly don’t think it’s just a matter of communication or respect. But Vice-President Joe Biden (in the clip at the top of the post) does hit on something important: the mainstream of both major political parties has abandoned the American working-class, especially the white working-class. The selection of Hillary Clinton continues that tradition (as Biden sees […]

Is anyone else struck by the contradiction between what is actually going on in the world and the fact that, for those in charge, it’s just business as usual? Consider, for example, the decision to drop the charges against the three remaining officers facing trial in connection with the April 2015 death in policy custody of […]

According to a new New York Times poll, Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s soaring levels of unpopularity (55 and 52 percent, respectively, compared to favorability ratings of 26 and 31 percent) are extraordinary for the likely nominees of the two major parties. And the head-to-head advantage Clinton enjoys over Trump has narrowed considerably in recent weeks (down to […]

  Richard Hofstadter was wrong. American politics has always been about class. And this presidential election is no different. Don’t get me wrong: American politics has always been about a lot of things (from nativism and racism to foreign entanglements and so-called cultural issues). But Hofstadter’s argument that “American political life has rarely been touched […]

Yesterday, I argued that “both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders owe at least some of the support they’ve received in recent primaries to their criticisms of U.S. trade deals and their effects on American workers.” I then went on to discuss capitalism and trade in relation to Sanders’s campaign. I didn’t write much about Trump, aside […]

Ever since the publication of Thomas Frank’s book, What’s the Matter with Kansas, we have been grappling with the issue of why poor and working-class people seem to vote against their own economic self-interest. Frank’s view was that these voters were being manipulated by Republican elites into being distracted by social issues like guns and abortion. […]