Ever since the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 US Presidential election shocked the world, considerable time and energy has been spent speculating on the possible causes of such a surprising upset, from "whitelash" to interference by the alternately entirely despicable and unquestionably heroic James Comey to Russian orbital mind control lasers. Journalist Salena Zito and pollster Brad Todd have a more modest explanation - Trump won because he built a winning coalition of voters. His victory was improbable because his coalition was unconventional, and whether that coalition is sustainable will determine whether 2016 marks a major shift in American politics or is merely an oddity. Their analysis concludes that the Trump fusion of social conservatism and economic populism is holding strong - forced to choose between the often intemperate Trump and his often intemperate critics in the media, those who sided with Trump in the election continue to side with him. Indeed, the authors foresee more problems for the Democratic coalition of big government and big business as that party drifts further to the left.
Of course, all such predictions are highly suspect - less than a decade ago, the "coalition of the ascendant" was going to banish Republicans to "wander in the political wilderness" indefinitely. The real value of The Great Revolt is its combination of hard data and personal interviews profiling the voters who put Trump in the White House. The result demolishes stereotypes, revealing, not a "basket of deplorables", but ordinary men and women who made more or less informed decisions, the stuff of which - for better or worse - democracy is made. At a time when, according to polls, 58 percent of Clinton voters would "have a hard time respecting" someone who voted for Trump, while 40 percent of Trump voters feel the same way about Clinton voters, this is not a small thing.