How Do You Explain Trump at Berkeley?

This sounds a bit like the old joke, “How do you pet a porcupine?” Answer: “Very carefully.”

More than a month ago I was asked during homecoming weekend to speak to an alumni panel on the topic of “Trump and the White Working Class,” along with the distinguished sociologist Arlie Hochschild, author of Strangers In Their Own Land, drawn from her experience of being embedded with rural folk in Louisiana, as sociologists do. Although she’s a liberal, she acquired a fair bit of sympathy for the outlook of the folks she met, not unlike the former head of NPR, Ken Stern, who traveled in red state areas and wrote Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right.

The entire panel and audience questions ran almost 90 minutes, so here is just the introduction (which has its amusing moments—Dan Lindheim is a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy, and a fabulously nice man with a very solidly left-of-center pedigree) and my opening remarks.

If you want to see the entire program, you can take it in here.


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