The writer witnessed the striking economic and cultural impact of outsourcing in southern towns such as Alabama’s Greensboro and Allendale.
He sharply evokes Flowers Lane’s hovels and trailers – writing: ‘The heat made it all the smellier as of roasted flatulence.
It was the smell of poverty a stink that no one not even someone in the submerged 20th could get used to’.
Theroux emphasises that 20% of southerners black and white below the poverty line need help.
‘Manufacturing has been outsourced.
Their jobs have been taken away so there’s nothing for them to do.
They sit crowded together in their shack and watch a jumbly picture on a TV set.
It’s very distressing.
‘You don’t see that in many other countries.
The level of poverty and the level of despair too.
Of people thinking ‘Nothing’s ever going to happen to me. I will never go to college I will never get healthcare’.
Theroux’s abiding memory of his journey was southern towns with their economic heart ripped out – factories shuttered – from Mississippi to hinterland Arkansas.
Southerners complained to him about the unfair effects American trade deals such as Nafta have had – a complaint Trump is now tub-thumping.
‘Trump was making some kind of clothing line but it was made in China.
He’s a complete hypocrite in virtually everything that he says’ Theroux says scathingly.
‘I suppose that will come out. He’s hired undocumented workers – he’s manufactured things in China.”
Theroux agrees with Bernie Sanders that Trump is a ‘pathological liar’.
He thinks a candidacy-curbing Trump scandal isn’t far off.
‘Trump is not unstoppable.
I think that the Trump campaign will unravel because he’s such a devious man.
He is untruthful.
People who make that much money in business and who talk like that have hid a lot … I think something will emerge’.
(ed:..i wonder if theroux realises that no matter how bad/scary trump is..that the only other republican party contender..ted ‘i want to make the desert sands glow’ cruz..is so much fucken worse/scarier..?..)