Princeton Sociologist Spent 8 Years Investigating Anger in Rural America
Unsurprisingly, Robert Wuthnow found that much of rural America's anger at Washington and their support for populist agendas like President Trump's has little to do with Free Trade and other macro-level economic policies, but is based instead on cultural anxiety and a fear of the changing demographics of America. Wuthnow sat down with Vox to discuss his new book, "The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America."
Wuthnow's investigation joins a growing body of research that demonstrates that the popular narrative that economic angst in rural America drove white rural voters to Trump is, at most, a small part of the story. Polling results such as these published in the Atlantic last year show that "fear of societal change, not economic pressure, motivated votes for the president among non-salaried workers without college degrees."
Politically, such results are unsettling because the demographic and societal changes that they fear are not at all likely to change. America will continue to become less white and more urban for the foreseeable future. So, the question becomes...will these voters support even more extreme candidates and positions once they realize that Trump's policies don't address their core complaints.