It’s been an article of faith among scholars and activists alike that poor Americans are ignored in national politics. But what if that conventional wisdom is wrong, and poor people, at least rhetorically, are in fact as commonly referred to by Presidents in their State of the Union addresses and in Party platforms as many other supposedly more favored groups? Kristina C. Miler
’s Poor Representation: Congress and the Politics of Poverty in the United States
(Cambridge University Press, 2018) simultaneously gives the lie to these claims while offering rich new evidence to describe how and why most members of Congress fail to follow through on such rhetoric, even if they represent poor districts, and what we might do to remedy this imbalance.
Stephen Pimpare is Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of
The New Victorians (New Press, 2004),
A People’s History of Poverty in America (New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, and
Ghettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen (Oxford University Press, 2017).