How America feels to Trump supporters

Ezra Klein talks with anthropologist Arlie Hochschild, who visited Trump country in Louisiana, and talked with many of his supporters to learn how America looks to them.

They see themselves as patiently waiting in line for their due reward, only to find the line isn’t going anywhere. When they look ahead, they see immigrants and other special interest groups cutting ahead, and Barack Obama and the federal government waving the line-cutters in. Trump supporters feel like aliens in their own country.

Much of Trump’s support comes from divisions between social classes — something that Americans still pretend doesn’t exist here. Trump supporters are told they’re privileged because they’re white, but they don’t feel privileged. And they’re right, because they’re white but they’re lower class.

Not discussed much in this podcast: Trump’s supporters aren’t the white poor; they’re more affluent than their neighbors. That doesn’t necessarily contradict the narrative that Trump supporters come from the lower classes; economic class and social class aren’t the same thing (as anybody who watches Downton Abbey knows!).

This is a terrific podcast, with many thought-provoking points.

Arlie Hochschild on how America feels to Trump supporters – The Ezra Klein Show podcast:

I’ve been reading sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s writing for about a decade now. Her immersive projects have revolutionized how we understand labor, gender equity, and work-life balance. But her latest book, “Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,” is something new: she spent five years among tea party supporters in Louisiana, trying to bridge the deepest divide in American politics. It was, she says, an effort to scale the “empathy wall,” to create an understanding of how politics feels to people whose experiences felt alien to her. In this conversation, we discuss:-How she approaches immersive sociology-The kinds of questions she asks people in order to get them to open up about their political feelings-What it takes to “turn off your alarm system” when you encounter oppositional ideas-What she describes as the “deep story” that explains how conservative Americans, particularly older white men, feel increasingly looked down on-Why she feels empathy on the part of people who disagree is an important part of creating dialogue-Whether empathy and respect are in tension with each other-Why many white men don’t feel they’re part of a privileged group-What she thought of Clinton’s comments that half of Trump’s supporters are a “basket of deplorables”And much more. This is a time when listening and empathy are in shorter supply than ever, at least in American politics. It’s well worth listening to Hochschild’s advice on how to bring both back.

Striking out

Why tens of thousands of workers, from Verizon to McDonald’s, are walking off the job Thursday

Jim Tankersley and Brian Fung, at the Washington Post:

Tens of thousands of Americans will decline to report to work Thursday because of labor disputes, a surge that coincides with a fledgling sense of empowerment among workers who struggled for years to reap the gains of the economic recovery and which could mark a political and economic shift in the balance between employers and their employees.

The striking workers will include nearly 40,000 Verizon employees who walked off the job Wednesday in search of assurances that their positions will not be outsourced or automated in the near future, after contract talks with the company stalled.

The ranks also will include thousands of low-wage workers organized by the Fight for $15 campaign, which is pushing to increase the national minimum wage to $15 an hour. Organizers said that Thursday’s strike would be the campaign’s largest and would focus on picketing McDonald’s, one of the country’s largest employers of low-wage workers. The strikers will include McDonald’s employees but also workers from other fast-food chains, nursing homes and at least one university.

With the labor market tightening up, workers get more clout. Good.

Tech Industry Rushes to Grab New H1-B Worker Visas

The H1-B visa program is badly flawed. It’s not just that foreign workers will work more cheaply to get a shot at American jobs. I’ve also heard a few stories over the years about employers who’ve threatened to get H1-B visas revoked if employees don’t do their bidding.

It’s hard to compete in the job market when the opposition are effectively indentured servants.

Tech Industry Rushes to Grab New H1-B Worker Visas [Miriam Jordan – The Wall Street Journal]