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Salena Zito

Understanding Trump Voters and American Populism

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Rural communities are often ignored by the media. What really motivates these voters?

Unlike the vast majority of journalists who cover U.S. politics, columnist Salena Zito lives far away from the centers of power and wealth. Twice a year she leaves her home in western Pennsylvania and drives thousands of miles across the country on back roads, visiting towns and rural communities, many of which supported Donald Trump for President, that are so often ignored by the national media. In this episode, we learn more about the perspective of these voters.

Salena, a columnist for the Washington Examiner and the New York Post, is the author of The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics. She previously wrote for The Atlantic and Pittsburgh Tribune Review. While on the road, Zito goes to high school football games, attends church services and eats at local diners.

“One of the things that makes my reporting different is that I try to treat each story that I write as though I am from the locality,” she tells us.

Hear Salena’s insights on some of the perspectives of those voters who live in what she calls “the middle of somewhere.”

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep. 40: Understanding Trump Voters and American Populism

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political journalist for the Washington Examiner and the New York Post. She is the co-author of The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics. With her co-author, Brad Todd, Salena traveled over 27,000 miles of country roads to interview more than 300 Trump voters in ten swing counties.

She previously wrote for The Atlantic and spent the last 11 years at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review as both a reporter and a columnist covering national politics. Before that, she worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers and held staff positions for both Democratic and Republican elected officials in Pennsylvania.

She has interviewed every president and vice president in the 21st century. In the 2016 election cycle, she interviewed 22 presidential candidates, both Democrats, and Republicans.

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