People act against their own self-interest all the time. This is the stuff of psychotherapy. But people also vote against their own best interests. For example, white working class Trump supporters have not benefited from his Presidency and, in fact, many of them have been hurt. Progressives have to use a deep type of empathy to understand such self-defeating political behavior. Many white working class men feel left behind in the rush toward automation and globalization, and experience government as insensitive to their needs. Instead, fueled by racial and ethnocentric bias, they see people of color, including immigrants as getting favored status—a type of “cutting in line” that sociologist Arlie Hochschild has studied. Progressives have to challenge this distortion while empathizing with its painful consequences.
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