clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Two books that explain much about Trump’s curious popularity

They tell why the poor whites of Appalachia and the Midwestern heartland turned away from the Democratic Party and in desperation voted for Trump to recover American greatness.

Two books — Sarah Smarsh’s “Heartland” and J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” — reveal the conditions of poverty and neglect and the futility of working hard to pull one’s-self up economically by one’s bootstraps.

They tell why the poor whites of Appalachia and the Midwestern heartland turned away from the Democratic Party and in desperation voted for President Donald Trump to recover the American greatness.

Smarsh describes the bootstrap ethos as a false god, “a betrayal for people who toil incessantly but have nothing to show for it except debt, degradation and Illness. More like a ghost haunting our way of thinking than like a sacred contract worth signing toward some future.”

The insidiousness of deep poverty!

The white working poor’s affinity for Trump, as ironic, ignorant and as contradictory as it is, is based on desperation. It is the direct result of corporate America’s and the business world’s refusal to pay a living wage to full-time employees and a deep distrust of the “government.”

America’s haves wallow in excess, revel in it, while the have-nots struggle in desperation.

What will and what can Democrats do to right this wrong?

What can all who feel this truth do?

Certainly not re-elect Trump but come up with a reforming vision for a new America.

Marion J. Reis, Lombard

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy will never work

President Donald Trump’s immigration policy will not work. His “Zero Tolerance” policy is too cruel and inhumane and does not get to the root of the problem.

Migrant families are crossing the border aware of the consequences. They know they might be robbed or attacked during the journey or mistreated by the U.S. government.

But they still come. Not because the consequences aren’t harsh enough but because they are leaving countries so poor that it is worth the risk.

Giving foreign aid to those countries will solve the problem far better than zero tolerance.

YongBeom Park, Midlothian, Virginia