Book

Race, class, and social welfare: American populism since the New Deal (2020)

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Abstract

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.