Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Book Review: The Great Revolt

James Tulp reviews The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics by Salena Zito.   Mr. Tulp is a radio talk show host at WYAB-FM, 103.9.  His show appears Monday through Friday at 7:00 AM.

The Great Revolt’ Review: An Answer to Hillary’s ‘What Happened’

85%, 91%, 98%

These were the odds on November 7, 2016 that Hillary Clinton would win the election by the New York Times, CNN, and the Huffington Post, respectively.

How did so many political experts get it so wrong?

One of the few political journalists who correctly predicted the outcome of the 2016 election was Salena Zito, author of The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.

Zito explores Trump’s creation of a brand new coalition consisting of surprising bedfellows such as lifelong Democrats, populists, secular conservatives, and evangelicals. Through her research, she finds that Trump’s campaign was less about right vs left as it was inside vs outside, and the fact that most pollsters and pundits were (and are) oblivious to his appeal proved the point further.

As far as 2016 election analyses go, The Great Revolt goes much deeper than the left’s intellectually lazy “whitelash” or conspiratorial “Russia” explanations, and deeper still than the anti-Trump conservative’s dismissal that the only reason Trump won was because Hillary was not a formidable candidate. Zito attempts to understand the Trump voter in a way that few journalists are willing to do.

Throughout the book, Zito consistently dismantles widespread explanations for why certain people voted for Trump. For example, the idea that working class whites who voted for Trump were acting out of anger is proven false. Of the “Red Blooded and Blue Collared” archetype, 84% were optimistic about their own future financial situation. This key fact was missed by most analysts who derided the “angry white men” and perfectly matches Trump’s optimistic and forward-looking slogan, “Make America Great Again”.

Zito used electoral data and shoe leather reporting in five key states- Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa- all states that voted for for Trump in 2016 after voting for Obama in both 2008 and 2012. How do you explain the millions of people who voted for Obama and Trump? Rather than just regurgitating the same polls that circulate the Beltway, Zito was willing to do something her colleagues in journalism weren't- listen to the people.

The data Zito collects can also be helpful in looking forward. For example, in the chapter on King Cyrus Christians, she writes, “The Great Revolt Survey indicates that 91 percent of the group approves of Trump’s performance in office, and 65 percent trust him most to do what’s right for the country.” The name “King Cyrus Christian” is derived from the sixth century BC pagan king who released the Israelites from bondage, allowing them to rebuild their temple. Similarly, the relationship between evangelical Christians and Trump is more transactional than it is about shared values. This explains why the group is willing to ride with Trump through personal scandals that would have ruined someone like Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee. “Trump’s first major accomplishment, the confirmation of conservative jurist Neil Gorsuch to the highest court in the land, ensures that the bargain...King Cyrus Christians made would at least be partly repaid.” As long as Trump keeps delivering on what they want, no personal scandal will be able to separate evangelicals from Trump.

What’s fascinating about this book is that it becomes remarkably predictable about halfway through. It seems the same story gets told over and over again in different places, for different reasons: all the jobs are gone in a run-down town in a county that hasn’t voted Republican in decades, but feels abandoned by the Democrat party. Then Trump comes along and connects with the people in a way no politician ever has. The book seems almost redundant by the end, but perhaps that just means the real surprise was that so few people saw this coming. It was there for anyone willing to look.

The Great Revolt is useful for anyone interested in learning about the people so often overlooked or misrepresented in the media: Trump supporters. Understanding these people is the key to understanding the future of American politics. Is Trump’s new fusion of populism with conservatism here to stay? Will this book tell the story of just one election, or will it represent a movement that goes well beyond?

We’ll have a better idea after the midterms, but one thing is for sure- the people who were ignored in 2016 are still being overlooked today. These same people have a starring role in Salena Zito’s The Great Revolt.

The Great Revolt is available at Amazon.
320 pages
Kindle: $14.99
Hardcover: $16.45


Anonymous said...

The left leaning pollsters, media, and punsters suffer from CONFIRMATION BIAS. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

My instincts are telling me this election is similar to 2016 and the predictors are off again. We will know 2 weeks from tonight (I Hope) and the tale will be told. No doubt, Mississippi will go Republican in most cases and as far as Republicans it will be Hyde-Smith over McDaniels.

Hinds County is harder to predict but I believe Matt Allen and Judge Jeff Weill will win. Hoping for anyone other than Crystal Martin. She was terrible at the County and has turned into a racial shrew on the radio.
Surely we can do better than this.

Anonymous said...

This book, co-written by Zito and Brad Todd despite the nice write-up given by JJ that totally ignores one-half of the team that did the research, is one of the best and easy to read analysis of the 2016 election on the market. Focuses on the states that made the difference, those mid-western industrial areas that HRC felt she had in the bag and paid little attention to. Further, the authors talked to people that the NY media tend to ignore and assume don't exist; folks that don't live on the interstates transisting these states but instead live in the smaller, less urban areas.

A great read for anyone with the least bit of interest in politics, that explains a lot as to why Trump won, and why Clinton lost, and what the likely long term effect of this election may have on us in upcoming years.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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