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Trumpism: Race, Class, Populism, and Public Policy, Carter A. Wilson

Reviewed by Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha
 

Since he won a surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election, scholars have devoted considerable attention to explaining the rise and fall of Donald J. Trump. Carter A. Wilson builds upon this growing literature by defining “Trumpism” while emphasizing the political, economic, and societal conditions that gave rise to Trump and the policies that he promoted.

To begin, Wilson skillfully explores Trump’s brand of populism. Noting the differences between left-wing populists or those who criticize the economic elite (9), and right-wing (particularly reactionary) populists who target scapegoats as the cause of similar grievances, Wilson defines Trump as a right-wing reactionary populist who engaged in a public policy “assault” on “the equal opportunity, inclusive state” (15). As we see in the second half of the book, these assailed policies include labor (chapter 6), health care (chapter 7), social welfare (chapter 8), voter suppression (chapter 9), and policing (chapter 10).

The foundation for this assault lies with Trumpism. As developed in chapter 2, “Trumpism” defines the “eclectic” or even contradictory worldview espoused by the former president. It is well known that Trump claimed to champion the worker by advocating an overhaul of both NAFTA and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fo

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