Books: The Great Revolt – Salena Zito and Brad Todd

Posted By on August 26, 2018

5149yvjfrBL._SY346_I may have pick up my favorite political book of the year with Salena Zito and Brad Todd’s "The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics." It analyzes the unusual rise of once "long shot" billionaire reality-tv GOP candidate Donald Trump who defeated 17 other Republican "politicians" and chipped off enough disgruntled Independent and Democratic voters to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The first person voter interviews with thousands of ordinary American voters is something that left pollsters and political party strategists scratching their heads and is finding them studying carefully as this populist movement either continues or dies off in future US elections.

For me, it is not that I haven’t heard the message before, but getting it all in a concise book with the ordinary people interviews, that many of us living in the mid-west can relate to, is most telling. There are those who are one issue voters like the 2nd Amendment or concerned over the damage another liberal supreme court justice could make … as well as those who dislike the direction of the country under supporters of BIG government progressive policies.

thegreatrevoltcontentsThe later “felt” how slow the economic recovery was going and how expensive the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was making health care as it continued to collapse under its own weight. It also highlighted the "embarrassed to tell their friends"  closet Trump voters or the evangelical Christians who seemed unlikely to support a man on his 3rd wife with less-than upright past behavior. All in all, it is an intriguing book and might help explain things to those who live in academia or tight progressive circles on the east and west coast — and especially for those oblivious to the reality faced by "blue collar traditional democratic voters some viewed as "clinging to their guns and religion" or that their candidate of choice referred to as "deplorables."

Here is a great CSPAN interview by David Drucker with the authors Brad Todd and Salena Zito (well worth listening to). 

Standout syndicated columnist and CNN contributor Salena Zito, with veteran Republican strategist Brad Todd, reports across five swing states and over 27,000 miles to answer the pressing question: Was Donald Trump’s election a fluke or did it represent a fundamental shift in the electorate that will have repercussions–for Republicans and Democrats–for years to come.

The history of the American electorate is not a litany of flukes; instead it is a pattern of tectonic plate-grinding, punctuated by a landscape-altering earthquake every generation or so. Donald Trump’s electoral coalition is smashing both American political parties and its previously impenetrable political news media.The political experts called the 2016 election wrong and in the wake of the 2016 election surprise, the experts have continued to blow it – looking to predict the coming demise of the President without pausing to consider the durability of the trends and winds that swept him into office.

The Great Revolt delves deep into the minds and hearts of the voters the make up this coalition. What emerges is a group of citizens who cannot be described by terms like "angry," "male," "rural," or the often-used "racist." They span job descriptions, income brackets, education levels, and party allegiances. What unites them is their desire to be part of a movement larger than themselves that puts pragmatism before ideology, localism before globalism, and demands the respect it deserve from Washington.

Zito and Todd have traveled on over 27,000 miles of country roads to interview more than 300 Trump voters in 10 swing counties. What they have discovered is that these voters were hiding in plain sight–ignored by both parties, the media, and the political experts all at once, ready to unite into the movement that spawned the greatest upset in recent electoral history. Deeply rooted in the culture of these Midwestern swing states, Zito and Brad Todd reframe the discussion of the "Trump voter" to answer the question: What next?

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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.