What’s the Matter with Kansas?

Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank’s analysis of the reasons that working—and middle-class—people vote against their own best economic interests is an eye-opener. He provides a close examination of the progressive history of his native Kansas and then shows how the conservative movement has managed to invert the whole meaning of “grassroots” by using social issues to rally the troops. As things get worse economically, working-class conservatives cling more desperately to Republican promises on social issues, and old-school Republicans get richer. Frank gets inside the evolution of the red-state juggernaut and accurately points out the way that conservative political language has wiped out any possibility of class consciousness by directing working-class anger at “liberals” rather than at the ownership class.