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American Discontent

The Rise of Donald Trump and Decline of the Golden Age

John L. Campbell



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Oxford University Press
30 July 2018
The 2016 presidential election was unlike any other in recent memory, and Donald Trump was an entirely different kind of candidate than voters were used to seeing. He was the first true outsider to win the White House in over a century and the wealthiest populist in American history. Democrats and Republicans alike were left scratching their heads-how did this happen?

In American Discontent, John L. Campbell contextualizes Donald Trump's success by focusing on the long-developing economic, racial, ideological, and political shifts that enabled Trump to win the White House. Campbell argues that Trump's rise to power was the culmination of a half-century of deep, slow-moving change in America, beginning with the decline of the Golden Age of prosperity that followed the Second World War. The worsening economic anxieties of many Americans reached a tipping point when the 2008 financial crisis and Barack Obama's election, as the first African American president, finally precipitated the worst political gridlock in generations. Americans were fed up and Trump rode a wave of discontent all the way to the White House.

Campbell emphasizes the deep structural and historical factors that enabled Trump's rise to power. Since the 1970s and particularly since the mid-1990s, conflicts over how to restore American economic prosperity, how to cope with immigration and racial issues, and the failings of neoliberalism have been gradually dividing liberals from conservatives, whites from minorities, and Republicans from Democrats. Because of the general ideological polarization of politics, voters were increasingly inclined to believe alternative facts and fake news.

Grounded in the underlying economic and political changes in America that stretch back decades, American Discontent provides a short, accessible, and nonpartisan explanation of Trump's rise to power.
By:   John L. Campbell
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 243mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   492g
ISBN:   9780190872434
ISBN 10:   0190872438
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   30 July 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

John L. Campbell is Class of 1925 Professor in the Department of Sociology at Dartmouth College and Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Business and Politics at the Copenhagen Business School. He is the author of numerous books, most recently The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis (2010), The National Origins of Policy Ideas (Princeton, 2014), The World of States (Bloomsbury, 2015), and The Paradox of Vulnerability (Princeton, 2017).

Reviews for American Discontent: The Rise of Donald Trump and Decline of the Golden Age

Pundits have viewed Donald Trump as an orange-haired meteor unexpectedly crashing into American politics. John Campbell shows that he is more like an earthquake, a result of fault lines and tectonic pressures that have been building for years. -Jacob S. Hacker, Director, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University, and co-author of American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper The rise of Donald Trump cries out for historical perspective, and no one is better equipped to offer that than John Campbell. -Lane Kenworthy, Professor of Sociology and Yankelovich Chair in Social Thought, University of California-San Diego The election of President Trump was a shock, and it has led to many accounts of the dramatic events involved. John Campbell's book is utterly different, moving from events to the deep structural causes that made that election possible. Here we have intellectual insight based on powerful social science-massively moving forward our understanding of this key issue of the modern world. -John A. Hall, James McGill Professor of Comparative Historical Sociology, McGill University An accessible analysis of the social trends that prefaced the shock to democracy of Donald Trump's electoral of fake news, a smart, engaging road map regarding 'what happened.' - Kirkus

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