Rory McVeigh is the Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor in Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Center for the Study of Social Movements. He is the author of The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan: Right-Wing Movements and National Politics (2009) and coeditor of American Sociological Review. Kevin Estep is an assistant professor in the Department of Cultural and Social Studies at Creighton University. His research focuses on the consequences of residential sorting on politics and public health.
The tactics of cultural resentment that brought Donald Trump to the White House are not new. As McVeigh and Estep show, eerily similar strategies propelled the explosive rise of the racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan a century earlier. A brilliant, must-read book on the dangerous appeal of white nationalism in American politics.--Kathleen Blee, University of Pittsburgh McVeigh and Estep's book makes an important contribution to our understanding of white nationalism, its endurance in American politics, and the conditions that brought it back into the mainstream with the election of Donald Trump. Using the 1920s Klan as a reference point, the authors show how declines in the standing of whites (political, economic, and status-based) have often produced sizable populations open to racist appeals, spawning political movements and fracturing enduring electoral coalitions.--Marc Dixon, Dartmouth College A welcome addition to the literature on white supremacy.--Kirkus Reviews The Politics of Losing not only provides an incredibly rich diagnosis for the current troubles within American democracy but also offers a much-needed and well-reasoned exit.--Christian Davenport, University of Michigan In documenting the remarkable parallels between the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, and the rise of Trumpian politics today, McVeigh and Estep demonstrate how white nationalism periodically links with economic grievances to shape electoral outcomes. Elegantly written, exquisitely researched, and powerfully argued, The Politics of Losing is essential reading for those who wish to understand the historical origins of our current, racially charged political climate--and how to change it.--Jocelyn Viterna, Harvard University Through a clear and dispassionate comparison of the ascendance of the Klan in the 1920s and Trump in 2016, McVeigh and Estep trace the roots of white nationalism in American politics. They show how opportunistic leaders combined race, economics, culture, and religion to mobilize white resentment. The Politics of Losing is the best book to account for the rise of Trumpism that I have read.--Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Duke University Erudite and surprisingly evenhanded. . . . A substantial contribution to understanding an increasingly polarized country.--Publishers Weekly