Category Archives: Politics

New Book: “The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America”

9780691177663New Book: Robert Wuthnow, The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America (2018). Overview below:

How a fraying social fabric is fueling the outrage of rural Americans

What is fueling rural America’s outrage toward the federal government? Why did rural Americans vote overwhelmingly for Donald Trump? And, beyond economic and demographic decline, is there a more nuanced explanation for the growing rural-urban divide? Drawing on more than a decade of research and hundreds of interviews, Robert Wuthnow brings us into America’s small towns, farms, and rural communities to paint a rich portrait of the moral order–the interactions, loyalties, obligations, and identities—underpinning this critical segment of the nation. Wuthnow demonstrates that to truly understand rural Americans’ anger, their culture must be explored more fully.

We hear from farmers who want government out of their business, factory workers who believe in working hard to support their families, town managers who find the federal government unresponsive to their communities’ needs, and clergy who say the moral climate is being undermined. Wuthnow argues that rural America’s fury stems less from specific economic concerns than from the perception that Washington is distant from and yet threatening to the social fabric of small towns. Rural dwellers are especially troubled by Washington’s seeming lack of empathy for such small-town norms as personal responsibility, frugality, cooperation, and common sense. Wuthnow also shows that while these communities may not be as discriminatory as critics claim, racism and misogyny remain embedded in rural patterns of life.

Moving beyond simplistic depictions of the residents of America’s heartland, The Left Behind offers a clearer picture of how this important population will influence the nation’s political future.


[Self-promoting] New Op-ed: “In this administration, there have been many examples of courageous defiance”

[Self-promoting] New Op-ed: Ezra Rosser “In This Administration, There Have Been Many Examples of Courageous Defiance,” The Hill, Mar. 15, 2018.

New Book: “Who Speaks for the Poor?: Electoral Geography, Party Entry, and Representation”

SpeaksNew Book: Karen Long Jusko, Who Speaks for the Poor?: Electoral Geography, Party Entry, and Representation (2017). Overview below:

Who Speaks for the Poor? explains why parties represent some groups and not others. This book focuses attention on the electoral geography of income, and how it has changed over time, to account for cross-national differences in the political and partisan representation of low-income voters. Jusko develops a general theory of new party formation that shows how changes in the geographic distribution of groups across electoral districts create opportunities for new parties to enter elections, especially where changes favor groups previously excluded from local partisan networks. Empirical evidence is drawn first from a broadly comparative analysis of all new party entry and then from a series of historical case studies, each focusing on the strategic entry incentives of new low-income peoples’ parties. Jusko offers a new explanation for the absence of a low-income people’s party in the USA and a more general account of political inequality in contemporary democratic societies.

[Self-Promoting Post] New Op-Ed: “Trump’s all out war on the poor”

[Self-Promoting Post] New Op-Ed: Ezra Rosser, Trump’s all out war on the poor, The Hill, Feb. 15, 2018.

Op-Ed: “How US authors worried over white poverty in 2017 – and forgot about everyone else”

Op-Ed: Rafia Zakaria, How US authors worried over white poverty in 2017 – and forgot about everyone else, The Guardian, Dec. 28, 2017.

Op-ed: “A New Year’s resolution for the media: Do not let Republicans get away with saying ‘reforms’ when they mean ‘cuts’”

Op-ed: Jared Bernstein, A New Year’s resolution for the media: Do not let Republicans get away with saying ‘reforms’ when they mean ‘cuts’, Wash. Post, Dec. 29, 2017.

New Op-Ed: “Sessions Says to Courts: Go Ahead, Jail People Because They’re Poor”

New Op-Ed: Chiraag Bains, Sessions Says to Courts: Go Ahead, Jail People Because They’re Poor, N.Y. Times, Dec. 28, 2017.

New Article: “The Next American Revolution”

New Article: Timothy K. Kuhner, The Next American Revolution, 39 Western New England L. Rev. 477 (2017). Abstract below:

On the whole, the scholarly literature does not go far enough in its understanding of money in politics and corporate political power — ultimately, the role of concentrated capital in democracy. The rising economic and political inequalities affecting the United States are not properly diagnosed as the excesses of a generally legitimate capitalist democracy in need, merely, of legal reforms. Rather, they are the symptoms of an overarching flaw in our political system that requires a revolution — a revolution of the non-violent, constitutional kind.

Action follows understanding. If the understanding of a problem is weak and superficial, the reform agenda will also be weak and superficial. It is true, as the call for papers states, that Supreme Court cases on money in politics “shift power to a new economic royalty.” Rather than an embellishment or exaggeration, however, this is actually the essential starting point for putting today’s plutocracy into its proper historical context, that of despotism, tyranny, and oppression.

Highlighting the thoughts of key historical figures, this essay has two purposes: first, to explore how revolutionary understandings can bring modern-day problems of economic and political inequality into sharper focus; and, second, to reveal the essential thrust of an enduring solution, a constitutional amendment to separate business and state.

Op-Ed co-authored by Cory Booker on Landlord-Tenant Issues: “Bills would help end ‘renter hell’”

Op-Ed by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and state Sen. Ron Rice, Bills would help end ‘renter hell’, USA Today, Nov. 18, 2017.

Op-Ed: “Ending Medical Tax Break Could Be a ‘Gut Punch’ to Middle Class”

Kate Zernike, Abby Goodnough, Ending Medical Tax Break Could Be a ‘Gut Punch’ to Middle Class, New York Times, November 8, 2017. [“…eliminating the medical-expense deduction would hit the middle class squarely…”]