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Salena Zito and Brad Todd’s new book The Great Revolt is a great read, based on extensive interviews with Trump voters as well as a Great Revolt survey. It’s important to note, though, that in the survey and later for the book, there are only interviews with Trump supporters from a specific geographical region: Trump supporters hailing from the five “Rust Belt” states of Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania; and even more specifically, from ten electorally-significant counties within these states.
Zito and Todd’s focus on Trump voters from behind the “Blue Wall” of rust-belt counties, which had been stubbornly blue before Trump, ought to be treasured for what it is: neither a description of American Trump voters in general, nor the final word on America’s new populist-conservative coalition, but a testament to the power of geography in our electoral process, and to the strategic importance of not overlooking those who might otherwise go overlooked.
In The Great Revolt, Zito and Todd identify “seven clusters of voters integral to [Trump’s] winning coalition.” These clusters are not meant to describe all types of Trump voters, or even the bulk of Trump voters; instead, they’re meant to describe crucial Trump voters: voters Zito and Todd believe were vital to Trump’s storming of the “Blue Wall” to achieve electoral victory. While Zito and Todd also argue that these seven types of voters serve as bellwethers for a more general populist-conservative realignment, it would be a mistake to lose sight of the fact that the “great” in The Great Revolt refers not to our country as a whole, but to the power of people in places which have lately been overlooked to make a great difference in our politics.