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Race, Class, and Social Welfare
American Populism Since the New Deal

$110.00 (C)

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  • Date Published: July 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108836920

$ 110.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • What makes it so difficult to enact and sustain comprehensive social welfare policy that would aid the disadvantaged in the United States? Addressing the relationship between populism and social welfare, this book argues that two competing camps of populists divide American politics. Regressive populists motivated by racial resentment frequently clash with progressive populists, who embrace an expansion of social welfare benefits for the less affluent, regardless of race or ethnicity. Engstrom and Huckfeldt uncover the political forces driving this divided populism, its roots in the aftermath of the civil rights revolution of the mid-twentieth century, and its implications for modern American politics and social welfare policy. Relying on a detailed analysis of party coalitions in the US Congress and the electorate since the New Deal, the authors focus on the intersection between race, class, and oligarchy.

    • Provides readers with a conceptual framework to understand populist movements in American politics
    • Illustrates how racial politics can disrupt class-based movements
    • Offers a new understanding of how critical historical events have shaped contemporary political dynamics
    Read more


    • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2021, Choice Reviews

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In their incisive and illuminating book, Race, Class and Social Welfare, Erik Engstrom and Robert Huckfeldt have captured the extraordinary upheaval in American politics from the 1930s to the present. The two authors detail in clear prose and accessible data the complex interaction of race and class that had led to what they accurately describe as the 'upside-down populism' of Donald Trump. A book worth the price.' Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times

    'This is the touchstone study of the foundations of today’s battle between the Democratic and Republican parties. It exposes, as no other study has, the rivalry below the surface of American politics between the forces of race and class to mold, simultaneously, the choices that voters make at the polls and the votes that their representatives cast in Congress.' Paul M. Sniderman, Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Jr. Professor in Public Policy, Stanford University

    'Engstrom and Huckfeldt’s Race, Class, and Social Welfare: American Populism since the New Deal is an outstanding contribution to unravelling the puzzle of changes in American politics in the last seventy-five years. Weaving together the myriad and complex ways in which race, class and social welfare have intersected during this period, the authors not only provide a compelling background to recent American politics but also demonstrate how the Trump phenomenon has deep roots in our politics.' Edward Carmines, Distinguished Professor, Warner O. Chapman Professor of Political Science, Rudy Professor, Indiana University-Bloomington

    ‘This is an outstanding contribution to the great mystery at the center of American politics … In all, this touchstone study provides a superb analysis of the current turmoil in American politics.’ P. Kurzer, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108836920
    • length: 212 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 52 b/w illus. 24 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. American Politics and Social Welfare
    2. Politics at the Intersection of Race, Class, and Oligarchy
    3. Civil Rights, Social Welfare, and Populism
    4. Civil Rights and Populism: The 1957 Civil Rights Act in the US Senate (With Jack Reilly)
    5. Race, Class, and the End of the New Deal in the US Senate (With Fan Lu)
    6. Transforming the twentieth-Century House
    7. Turning Populism Upside Down
    8. Dueling Populists and the Political Ecology of 2016
    9. Conclusion: The Dangers of Upside Down Populism.

  • Authors

    Erik J. Engstrom, University of California, Davis
    Erik J. Engstrom is Professor of Political Science, University of California, Davis. He is the author of Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy (2013) and co-author of Party Ballots, Reform, and the Transformation of America's Electoral System (2014). The latter was the co-winner of the 2015 J. David Greenstone Prize for best book in Politics and History from the American Political Science Association.

    Robert Huckfeldt, University of California, Davis
    Robert Huckfeldt is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of California, Davis. He is the author or co-author of a series of journal articles and books, including most recently Experts, Activists, and Interdependent Citizens with T.K. Ahn and John Barry Ryan. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.


    • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2021, Choice Reviews

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