(K. Brent Tomer),
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. By J.D. Vance. Harper; 264 pages; $27.99.
THE favoured candidate of the white working class in the presidential campaign is a man who travels on his own private aircraft and gives interviews from his penthouse in a building emblazoned with his name in gold letters. When he started out in property it was with a “small loan of $1m” from his father. Among white voters without college degrees, Donald Trump holds a commanding lead over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. (“I love the poorly educated,” he crowed after one of his many primary victories.)
How did Mr Trump pull this off? The same way unscrupulous people often succeed: he saw an opportunity and exploited it. White working-class voters felt abandoned by both parties. As unions grew less powerful, Democrats became the party of educated coastal voters and minorities. This divide was cemented by eight years of Barack Obama; white working-class voters attracted by Bill Clinton’s folksy charm were repelled by a black president with a foreign-sounding name and a chilly, cerebral…Continue reading