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During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump proclaimed, “The American Dream is dead,” a message that resonated across the country. Washington Examiner editor Timothy Carney traveled Middle America, pored over county-level maps and data, and sorted through sociological studies, and had a startling revelation: Donald Trump is right, but the death of the American Dream is a social phenomenon, not an economic one.
In some parts of the United States, life seems to be getting worse because citizens are facing their problems alone. These communities have seen declines in marriage, voting, church attendance, and volunteer work. Even when money comes back to town, happiness does not return if people there do not reengage. The educated and wealthy elites, on the other hand, tend to live in places where institutions are strong, or have enough money to insulate themselves.
Carney visits all corners of America, from the dim country bars of southwestern Pennsylvania to the bustling Mormon wards of Salt Lake City, and provides the most important data and research to explain why failing social connections are responsible for the great divide in America. Alienated America confirms the conservative suspicion that these places can’t be fixed with job-training programs or more entitlement spending, and backs up the liberal belief that new Trump voters aren’t coming to his rallies for the corporate tax cuts and Obamacare repeal.
Tim Carney will change the way you look at the challenges facing modern America and present a framework for leading us out of the wilderness.
About the Author
Timothy P. Carney is the commentary editor at the Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money and Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.