Fear factor

Writing months before the 2004 presidential election, Thomas Frank predicted that many members of the working and middle classes would vote on issues of culture, not economics. Being correct on this point won’t bring satisfaction to Frank, who begins and ends What’s the Matter with Kansas? by puzzling over conservatives’ ability to generate cultural anger and to use that anger to persuade the victims of economic change to vote against their economic interests. Frank sees this new style of conservatism as the “Great Backlash,” a movement that mobilizes voters by arousing public outrage over everything from school busing to unchristian art to the teaching of evolution.

 

This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.