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The Politics of Losing: Trump, the Klan, and the Mainstreaming of Resentment, Rory McVeigh and Kevin Estep

Reviewed by Jeremy D. Mayer

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The authors of this timely book put forth an interesting thesis: that the rise of Trump in the early twenty-first century is in some ways similar to the rise of the second Klan in the early years of the twentieth century. The book covers familiar territory about the Ku Klux Klan’s revival that one of the authors covered well in an earlier book. That the second Klan was focused on immigration fears almost as much as it was on keeping African Americans subjugated is a point well made, and the parallel with Trump’s “build the wall” rhetoric is worth examining. The authors make a strong case that Trump’s “fake media” attacks are quite similar to Klan attacks on the mainstream news of their day. They argue convincingly that status decline among white Christians in the twenty-first century was crucial to Trump’s success among working-class whites and that this process mirrored the Klan’s rise among white petit bourgeois Protestants from 1915 to 1924.

But much of the data analysis of 2016 is unsatisfying compared with, for example, that in John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck’s Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America. The ecological fallacy is committed several times without comment, an

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