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In Chapter 9 of Hillbilly Elegy, Vance gets deeper into politics, pointing out that â€œAppalachia and the South went from staunchly Democrat to staunchly Republican in less than a generationâ€ (140). We can see this mental shift in Vance himself when he works at the grocery store, turns into an â€œamateur sociologistâ€(138), and starts to think that â€œMamawâ€™s â€˜party of the working manâ€™ â€” the Democrats â€” werenâ€™t all they were cracked up to beâ€ (140).
Vanceâ€™s reasoning for this is that the white working class and lower income people saw each other taking advantage of government programs designed to help themâ€” they â€œgamed the welfare systemâ€ (139), as he put it. He also says that the working class and lower income folks where he grew up â€œ spend our way into the poorhouseâ€¦to pretend that weâ€™re upper classâ€ (146).
What do you think of Vanceâ€™s argument that the problems in Appalachia are related to financial irresponsibilityand reliance on government programsrather than a steady job and a good work ethic? Are these problems solely the fault of the people who live there, or are there other, larger forces at play?Be sure to use the text to supportyour answer.
And finally, do you think Vanceâ€™s argument explains the results of the 2016 election? Or is it not related?
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