A few weeks ago, I finished reading Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. I read it before the election with the hope of gaining a better understanding of what supporters of Donald Trump and movements like the Tea Party believe.
Like Hochschild, I can’t name many friends or relatives whose beliefs fall on that end of the political spectrum. But after reading about the years she spent interviewing and befriending people in Louisiana, I think I have more understanding about how this kind of political movement could take place in the United States. I don’t agree with it any more than I used to, but I think I am better equipped to pass an ideological Turing test than I used to be.
This book has stuck with me since the election, and I’ve found myself thinking about it multiple times throughout the day. I recommend checking it out. For an introduction to the book, listen to Ezra Klein’s interview with Hochschild or read this interview on Vox.