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Thomas F. Schaller and Paul Waldman: The White Rural Threat to Democracy


April 2, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Location: Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Side by side photos of two men, both of whom have short hair and glasses

The Center for Social Science Scholarship, celebrating its fifth year, presents a 5th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture, featuring Thomas F. Schaller and Paul Waldman, who will discuss The White Rural Threat to Democracy. This event is part of the Spring 2024 Social Sciences Forum.

Rural White voters have long enjoyed outsized power and thus unofficial status as what the authors call America’s “essential minority.” Unfortunately, rural Whites’ commitments to constitutional democracy have recently begun to weaken and erode. Schaller and Waldman explain the four interconnected threats to the functioning and survival of our constitutional system that rural Whites now pose, and four compounding factors that exacerbate rural Whites’ eroding commitments. Visit their website to learn more about their latest book, released in February 2024, White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy.

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at UMBC. He completed his PhD at the University of North Carolina in 1997. He is the author of The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House, Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South, and co-author (with fellow UMBC political scientist Tyson King-Meadows) of Devolution and Black State Legislators: Challenges and Choices in the Twenty-First Century. Along with Paul Waldman, he is the author of White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy (Random House, 2024). A former political columnist for The Baltimore Sun, he has published commentaries in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The American Prospect, Politico, and The New Republic, and have appeared on ABC News, MSNBC, The Colbert Report, National Public Radio and C-SPAN. Since 2004, he has given lectures on American elections in 19 countries on behalf of the U.S. State Department.

Paul Waldman is an author and commentator whose work has appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines. He has authored or co-authored five books on media and politics, the latest of which, co-authored with Thomas F. Schaller,  is White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy. He received a BA in political science from Swarthmore College, and a PhD in communication from the University of Pennsylvania.

Admission is free, but registration is required. Please visit here to reserve a seat.

Organized by the Center for Social Science Scholarship. This lecture will be recorded. Charm City Books will be on site for a book sale and signing following the lecture.

Photos provided by the speakers.



April 2
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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