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Trump and Us: What He Says and Why People Listen, Roderick P. Hart

Reviewed by Nathan Angelo

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In Trump and Us, Roderick P. Hart challenges academics to reconsider many of the popular interpretations of the election and presidency of Donald Trump. In doing so, he engages in a broader project of helping us understand what Trump’s presidency can tell us about the people of the United States. He urges us to look beyond the more simplistic yet popular narratives about Trump. But this leads to interesting challenges: for some, it might mistakenly read as a legitimization of Trump’s presidency. From another perspective, Hart is engaging in the exact type of elitist academic activity that Trump supporters reject. While this is not an exhaustive list of the challenges that this book faces, perhaps these two points provide some reason why this is such a necessary book: it tells us about the divisions that exist in American society that can only be exposed through the navigation of such tricky terrain.

The conclusion that Hart reaches is, effectively, that Trump won because he utilized a type of emotional language that resonated with a large segment of the population. Many of these voters were attracted to a set of values that the folks who might read academic books about Trump reject. Trump used emotional language that resonated with those who espouse plain virtues: loy

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