It’s important to separate the anger and despair felt in many American regions from the vehicle through which those feelings of anger and despair were expressed. In other words, you can dislike Trump while still acknowledging the very real, complicated issues affecting huge swaths of the country. As the mortality rate among middle-aged whites has surged, Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case are trying to identify the various forces behind the trend. Obesity, depression, the opioid crisis, alcohol abuse … all of these are symptoms of a broader problem: “Ultimately, we see our story as about the collapse of the white, high-school-educated working class after its heyday in the early 1970s, and the pathologies that accompany that decline.” From WaPo: New research identifies a sea of despair among white, working-class Americans.

+ “We know what they were dying from. We knew suicides were going up rapidly, and that overdoses mostly from prescription drugs were going up, and that alcoholic liver disease was going up. The deeper questions were why those were happening — there’s obviously some underlying malaise.” The forces driving deaths of despair.

+ While there are plenty of national and even global drivers one can point to, the actual scourge is narrowly targeted. From Vox: Why the white middle class is dying faster, explained in 6 charts.