Sunday October 23, 2016

Trump supporters experience a "secular rapture," says sociologist Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild, author of "Strangers in Their Own Land."

Arlie Hochschild, author of "Strangers in Their Own Land." (Paige Parsons)

Listen 28:38

Five years ago, sociologist Arlie Hochschild left the friendly confines of left-wing Berkeley, California, and ventured into the heart of Tea Party country, to Louisiana, a state with strong support for the right wing of the Republican Party.

At the end of the day, it's not that they love Trump, it's that they don't see anything else speaking to their needs. - Arlie Hochschild

For five years, she worked to understand what she calls the "deep story" of the people who live there, voters who are now invested in the election of Donald Trump.

She came to the conclusion that Trump offers these voters a kind of salvation, with his promises to "raise people up" to join him among the 1% of America's wealthiest. It's a powerful, quasi-religious message that is almost impossible to counter.

Hochschild wrote about her findings in her latest book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, which has just been named as a finalist for a National Book Award for Nonfiction


Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Lakeland, Florida, U.S., October 12, 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Arlie Hochschild is the author of nine books, three of which have been named Notable Books by The New York Times. She is professor emerita in the department of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. 

Click the button above to hear Michael's interview with Arlie Hochschild.