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The Country that Voted for Trump - Thomas Frank

The election of Donald Trump was a stunning political upset. His victory defied the predictions of almost every pundit and pollster. Though he received about 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, the antiquarian Electoral College system in the U.S. gave him the presidency. The New York real estate mogul, TV celebrity and billionaire ran as a self-proclaimed outsider against what he portrayed as entrenched and corrupt political elites. He would “drain the swamp” in Washington. Despite a well-documented list of jaw dropping gaffes and serial prevarications he was able to convince enough working class people that he would reverse the neoliberal economic policies that had so adversely affected them. And the Democrats? Well, what can you say? Facing one of the weakest candidates in history, they lost not only the White House but also most of the state houses.

Death of the Liberal Class - Chris Hedges

The gradual corruption and demise of the liberal class has occurred without much comment. For decades it was a modest curb against the worst excesses of power. Once the pillars of this class, the Democratic Party, the unions, and the liberal church, collapsed, the poor, the working class, and even the middle class no longer had a defender, thus creating a vacuum that is increasingly filled by opportunists and charlatans. The electoral process, flooded with money, is heavily influenced by corporations. The Supreme Court votes for the powerful. Dismayed citizens, fed a media diet of bread and circuses, lose their jobs, savings, homes and dignity thus becoming easy prey for demagogues who scapegoat and blame others for the problems facing the country.

Speaker(s):

Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank is a prominent political commentator and the founding editor of The Baffler magazine. He is the author of many books including One Market Under God, What's the Matter with Kansas? The Wrecking Crew, Pity the Billionaire and Listen, Liberal.

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has covered wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.org and is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of many books including Empire of IllusionDeath of the Liberal ClassThe World As It Is, and Wages of Rebellion.

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