Books You Should Read Based on Your Voting Preferences

The recent elections revealed how divided our country is.

According to the Pew Research Center, political parties see others more negatively than ever. Most Democrats see Republicans as close-minded. In turn, about half of Republicans see Democrats as close-minded, as well as more immoral, lazy and dishonest.

After Donald Trump won the presidency, most of us have clung even harder to our personal ideologies, without thinking why the other side thinks the way they do or dismissing them outright.

Here’s some books that each side should consider reading to see why people voted the way they did. We can’t change minds until we know how they work.

If you’re progressive:

1. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisJ.D. Vance

While college-educated whites turned out in droves, many have pointed to white working-class Americans as a large group who mobilized for Trump.

J.D. Vance writes of his childhood growing up among a poor family who struggled with addiction and violence in Appalachia.

While he doesn’t mention Trump in his book, Vance reflects on how the folks he knew felt cynical and distant from politics. For many, Trump was a “pain reliever” who made them feel better about their problems, even if they knew he wouldn’t necessarily solve them, Vance tells NPR.

2. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, Arlie Russell Hochschild

Nominated for the National Book Review, Strangers in Their Own Land explores what it means to be red in America with empathy and a search for a common ground. Liberal sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild spent the past five years with Trump’s supporters, many Tea Partiers.

Watch Democracy Now‘s interview with Hochschild above starting at 44:30.

3. Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, Adam Winkler

Gun control was one of the many divisive issues of the 2016 election.

Constitutional law expert Adam Winkler takes a measured look at different sides of the debate, as well as the history of the Second Amendment.

If you’re conservative:

1. No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, Reza Aslan

Trump’s talked about starting a Muslim registry in the United States and banning refugees from Islamic countries.

At the same time, most Americans don’t know a lot about the religion, according to the Pew Research Center.

Scholar Reza Aslan walks readers through an intriguing history of the diverse set of beliefs. His message grows more relevant than ever with rising Islamophobia.

2. Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, Rebecca Traister

Eight years ago, the 2008 election reinvigorated talk about women in politics.

Journalist Rebecca Traister follows the sexism that Clinton, as well as Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama, faced on the campaign trail in Big Girls Don’t Cry.

As the first woman to receive a major political party’s nomination this year, Clinton continued to face similar scrutiny based on her gender.

3. Brown is the New White: How The Demographic Revolution Has Created a New Majority, Steve Phillips

In Brown is the New White, political veteran Steve Phillips reveals how U.S. politics have long ignored voters of color and why that should change.

He calls people of color and progressive whites “the new majority,” who will gain more power in future elections. While intended for progressives, the book maps a trend that those on all sides of the aisle should be following.

We forget nuance too often when talking about politics. We demonize those who disagree, painting them with a wide brush.

Even if we fear the future, and continue to speak against candidates whose policies, speech and ethics we resent, hopefully we can see a little more humanity in the voters on the other side.

The books above are just a glimpse of what can help. What have you read?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

96 comments

Tin Ling L
Tin Ling L9 months ago

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill10 months ago

interesting

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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Beth M
Beth M10 months ago

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