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conservatism

Book cover for "Strangers in their Own Land" by Arlie Hochschild
The New Press / The New Press

In the days following the 2016 election, I [Joe Donahue] was drawn to a book published just as the fall campaign was getting underway. It helped me understand the election and the forces roiling in the country. The book was: "Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right" by sociologist Arlie Hochschild.

Almost a decade ago, she ventured into the Republican heartland, the state of Louisiana, and stayed there, on and off, for about five years. During that time, she grappled with what she called the "deep story" of voters who were determined to elect Donald Trump as their next president.

Four years later and a day before election day, I wanted to check in with her again. In what has become the most factious era of U.S. politics, I feel like I need help – help understanding. I called Hochschild and asked if she could join us to dissect what is happening within our nation. More accurately – what has happened, what is happening and what will happen – beginning with tomorrow.

Hochschild is Professor Emerita in the department of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Book cover for "What Were We Thinking?"
Simon & Schuster / https://www.simonandschuster.com/

As a book critic for The Washington Post, Carlos Lozada has read some 150 volumes claiming to diagnose why Trump was elected and what his presidency reveals about our nation. Many of these, he’s found, are more defensive than incisive, more righteous than right.

In "What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era," Lozada uses these books to tell the story of how we understand ourselves in the Trump era, using as his main characters the political ideas and debates at play in America today. He dissects works on the white working class like "Hillbilly Elegy;" manifestos from the anti-Trump resistance like "On Tyranny" and "No Is Not Enough;" books on race, gender, and identity like "How to Be an Antiracist" and "Good and Mad;" polemics on the future of the conservative movement like "The Corrosion of Conservatism;" and of course plenty of books about Trump himself.

    In 1963 Richard Hofstadter published his landmark book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Today, Matt Lewis argues, America's inclination toward simplicity and stupidity is stronger than ever, and its greatest victim is the Republican Party.

His new book is Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots).

In the prayers associated with the biblical tale of Exodus is the idea that each generation seeks new found freedoms extending the rights of individuals. The seder has come to endorse the expression of this liberation. At some level this is understandable since Pharaoh denied Jews religious freedom prompting Moses to lead his flock to a land where Jews could live without dictatorial imposition.