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The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore is a firsthand account of the events that shaped the 2016 presidential election and the cultural forces that powered Donald Trump into the White House. Featuring in-the-field reports as well as deep analysis, Sexton's book is not just the story of the most unexpected and divisive election in modern political history. It is also a sobering chronicle of our democracy's political polarization - a result of our self-constructed, technologically assisted echo chambers.
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By David Larson on 09-06-17
Undercover in Trump's America
What makes this book interesting is that the author, Jared Yates Sexton, spent over a year "undercover" in red-state America, following Trump supporters from one rally to the next. He was born in a red state himself, and his parents and all of his family voted for Trump. He very closely understands the mentality of the disaffected poor white rural Americans who have been left behind in modern America.
The author gives firsthand reporting from the barrooms and barn rallies across America from whence the pro-Trump movement arose. Because the author is himself a red-state American, he helps all of those liberal utopian thinkers to see exactly why their anti-Trump messaging was such a massive failure. One great example is the author's critique of the anti-Trump commercials that played all over rural America depicting Trump as a foul-mouthed person who swears and doesn't follow the common levels of decorum and comportment that mainstream America stands for. Of course, anyone who has spent time in rural America knows that these folks aren't necessarily turned off just because a man uses "colorful" language and calls people names. And by implying that bad language and name calling makes you a bad person, these anti-Trump ads actually backfired and made rural America feel like these were anti-rural America ads.
The author points out in the final chapter how simple it would have been to make an effective commercial that actually spoke to the values of rural America by highlighting the facts that would have meant something to them (e.g. Trump inherited most of his money, Trump was bailed out by his rich father several times, Trump doesn't pay his blue-collar workers, Trump has fired thousands and replaced them with foreign workers, Trump has his entire clothing-line made in China, Trump was bailed out by the federal government multiple times, etc.). Instead, the failure of the Democratic party was to allow Trump to pretend to be a "Blue-collar Billionaire" without effectively challenging that proposition.
This book is worth reading for the last chapter alone, but the whole thing is interesting throughout. I would put it up there with "Hillbilly Elegy" as one of the great "undercover" red-state America books. If you are a conservative, this book will make loads of sense to you. If you are a liberal, it will be a big time wakeup call. It's time to get out of the ivory tower and start facing up to the realities that rural America deals with on a daily basis (e.g., opioid addiction, loss of status, loss of power, marginalization, etc.). Instead the left spent all of its time arguing about which bathrooms 1% of the population could use, ignoring the 50% of the population who were seeing the American dream disappear before their eyes.
Every urban Democrat needs to read this book, because any rural Republican could have written it.
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