The Politics of Resentment by Katherine Cramer

Cramer criss-crossed Wisconsin to get to know as many rural Wisconsin residents as possible. Republicans have created state laws to render illegal many local reforms, including Milwaukee’s paid sick day ordinance and its century-old residency requirement for city employees. Addressing problems locally is thus impossible without organizing the rest of the state.

From the publisher:

Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country.

The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.


This book club met on June 4, 2018 at Rochambo Tea House on Brady Street.