A fresh perspective on the supporters of Donald Trump.
Award-winning Irish journalist Perry, Washington correspondent for Ireland’s public broadcasting station, makes her literary debut with a sharp, vivid report about Trump voters. Interviewing voters in 11 states, the author portrays the Trump electorate—predominantly white Christians—as angry, unsettled, disillusioned, and alienated. Voting for Trump, Perry writes, was spurred by “an appetite for a backlash” against politicians. Racism was a factor, too, among voters who were afraid of being outnumbered by Asians and Hispanics. Changing demographics made some people “feel threatened both financially and culturally,” and they identified immigrants as the cause of lost jobs and opportunities. Since Trump stood for no ideology and often contradicted his own positions, voters could read into him anything they wanted, choosing among his statements to find those that affirmed their own views. Furthermore, because he “talks trash” and “has no problem using the system to his advantage,” some businessmen saw him as “an everyman” trying to earn a living. In Massachusetts, Perry was surprised to find a stronghold of Trump supporters among voters with Irish ancestry who supported Trump’s plan to build a wall. As a descendants of Irish immigrants who had faced widespread prejudice, the author expected them to be more welcoming; instead, she discovered “a propensity to pull the ladder up behind them.” In Florida, Perry talked with one woman who claimed that Hillary Clinton’s election would mean that God had turned his back on America. No woman should be a national leader, she added, astounding Perry, who had “never heard another woman verbalise that there is any job on this earth that a woman couldn’t do.” Trump’s abrupt embrace of an anti-abortion stance attracted many Christian voters, as did his position as a political outsider. In her cross-country travels, Perry reveals an epidemic opioid addiction, adamant gun culture, economic stagnation, general lack of interest in foreign policy, and the disruptive effect of Trump’s relentless attack on the media.
A cleareyed portrait of Americans’ bitterness, hope, and fear.