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  • Little, Brown US

The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America

Ben Bradlee

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Political science & theory

An up-close look at the voters of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania who decisively swung the state for Donald J. Trump, examining the role of the President's base as the midterm elections loom

Luzerne County Pennsylvania, as Ben Bradlee describes it, is a microcosm of the nation. While it boasts its own police, firemen, schools and municipal services, Luzerne has few urban centers and is fundamentally rural in character. And like so many of the 3,000 other counties that resemble it across America, Donald J. Trump won Luzerne County in 2016. But President Obama had carried Luzerne in both elections. What changed? And what does this mean for America?

The Forgotten tells this story, revealing how Trump voters came to feel like strangers in their own land, marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and a liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism. As they explain it, residents of Luzerne felt like others were 'cutting in line' and that the federal government was taking too much money from the employed and giving it to the idle. They felt a loss of breadwinner status, and more importantly, a loss of dignity.

Drawing an unforgettable portrait of Americans caught in a fraught political moment that doesn't seem to end, The Forgotten not only expresses the growing divide between the two political parties, but also the immense forces that powered the election of Donald Trump. America is changing, and the men and women of The Forgotten are the ones who are changing it.

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