Tom Schaller

Bestselling Co-Author, "White Rural Rage" | Professor of Political Science, UMBC
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Tom Schaller is the bestselling co-author of White Rural Rage and a professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His work focuses on American politics with deep explorations into the inner workings of political parties, campaigns, and elections. He offers insight into how demographics such as location and race affect the kinds of leaders we elect and the impact they have on the nation. Schaller’s current focus examines polarization, the rising threats to American democracy, and what it takes to put the country back on track.

White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy, co-authored with fellow Leigh Bureau speaker Paul Waldman, is a controversial account of the misplaced rage amongst white rural voters and the existential threat their anger poses to the country at large. Called a “superb treatment of the regional and political divide that is shaping American politics, governance and society,” the book debuted on both the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists. The authors argue that white rural voters are suffering by their own hands as they continuously vote in politicians that pay lip service to petty issues to win their votes and fail to deliver meaningful policy changes to improve constituents’ lives once in office. The result is a feedback loop of grievance and resentment that leads to actions like the January 6th insurrection that undermine democracy.
Schaller is the author of four other books that explore politics, race, and culture. The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House and Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South are illuminating case studies into each of America’s major political parties. Common Enemies: Georgetown Basketball, Miami Football and the Racial Revolution of College Sports takes a historian’s view of the role race played in the popularization of college basketball. Schaller is also co-author of Devolution and Black State Legislators: Challenges and Choices in the Twenty-First Century.

A former columnist for the Baltimore Sun, Schaller has published commentaries in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, New Republic, Politico, Salon, and American Prospect. He has been a guest on MSNBC, NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation programs, The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS, The Colbert Report, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and is a periodic commentator on CBC Radio. He has given lectures on behalf of the U.S. State Department in over a dozen countries including Australia, Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Spain. He has taught courses on the U.S. presidency, interest group behavior, campaigns and elections, and political writing for nearly 30 years at UMBC.


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'White Rural Rage' looks at the most likely group to abandon democratic norms
Tom Schaller
White Rural Rage | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts
Tom Schaller
White Rural Rage I Author Interview
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"White Rural Rage" Authors on The Breakdown with Rick Wilson and Tara Setmayer
Tom Schaller


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An Honest Assessment of Rural White Resentment Is Long Overdue
New Republic
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This book about Trump voters goes for the jugular
Washington Post
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Commentary: Lack of Political Competition Harms Rural Americans
The Daily Yonder
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"They frankly laugh behind the backs of their own voters": How Republicans bamboozle rural whites
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Are White Rural Americans the Real Threat to Democracy?
Mother Jones
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EXCERPT: How to End Republican Exploitation of Rural America
Washington Monthly
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White Rural Rage Is Here
The Cross Section
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The Mystery of White Rural Rage
New York Times
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The ‘essential minority’ threatening democracy: white, rural Americans
The Baltimore Sun



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