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Small-Town AmericaFinding Community, Shaping the Future$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157207

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157207.001.0001

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Washington Is Broken

Washington Is Broken

Politics and the New Populism

Chapter:
(p.291) 9 Washington Is Broken
Source:
Small-Town America
Author(s):

Robert Wuthnow

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691157207.003.0009

This chapter examines how a new populism took root in small towns. In particular, it considers the ways that residents of small towns show antipathy toward big government, such as concerns about the scale of big bureaucracy, its inability to adapt to the norms and practices of small towns in which people know one another, and government's unresponsiveness to the needs of small communities in comparison with its attentiveness to problems in cities. The chapter first provides an overview of small-town politics before explaining how antipathy toward government is further reinforced by negative opinions about people on welfare. It also discusses the reasons for the popularity of Republicans in small towns and concludes by assessing the possibilities present in small towns for grassroots activism.

Keywords:   populism, small towns, antipathy, big government, bureaucracy, politics, welfare, Republicans, grassroots activism

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