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Finding American Resilience

On the campaign trail, it’s doom and gloom. James Fallows just travelled the country, and found lots of hope. And good reason for it. He’s with us.

In this file photo, the fog lifts over the skyline of downtown Pittsburgh on a foggy morning, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

In this file photo, the fog lifts over the skyline of downtown Pittsburgh on a foggy morning, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

If you listen to all the dark, despairing voices on the 2016 campaign trail, you might want to drown yourself in a bucket. America’s a “hell hole,” says Donald Trump – and there are many echoes and versions of that on the trail. There are reasons for the anger. But there are also, says my guest today, Atlantic writer James Fallows, great reasons for hope. He’s just traveled 50,000 miles criss-crossing the country, and he’s here to say “cheer up!” This hour On Point, sources of American strength, in a political season of doom and gloom.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guest

James Fallows, national correspondent for the Atlantic. Author ofthe book “China Airborne,” among many others. Former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter. (@JamesFallows)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: How America Is Putting Itself Back Together — “When the national mood after the first Gilded Age favored reform, possibilities that had been tested, refined, and made to work in various ‘laboratories of democracy’ were at hand. After our current Gilded Age, the national mood will change again. When it does, a new set of ideas and plans will be at hand.”

Marketplace: Burlington, Vermont: Land of ice cream, skiing, and … tech? — “When the tech industry in Burlington tries to recruit, it does it differently than Silicon Valley. Companies there have ‘found a way to sort of screen early people who had some sort of connection to Vermont who thought this would be a good place to live their lives.'”

BloombergThe U.S. States Where Recession Is Already a Reality — “As economists size up the chances of the first nationwide slump since 2009, pockets of the country are already contracting. Four states — Alaska, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — are in a recession, and three others are at risk of prolonged declines, according to indexes of state economic performance tracked by Moody’s Analytics.”

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