GeewaxATHENS- NPR’s Marilyn Geewax says that a foundational understanding of the economy is essential to being a journalist – and it can also help explain why presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have had more success than many pundits expected.

“The economy can help explain a lot of the anger that voters are feeling,” Geewax said.

For Trump, Geewax points to the stagnant or negative growth of middle-class, middle-wage jobs since the Great Recession despite a much improved economy.

“You’re seeing job growth, but it’s at the top or it’s at the bottom.” Geewax said. Workers caught in the middle may feel left behind and find Trump’s message appealing.

Sanders has connected well with younger voters. Geewax points to the steep costs of higher education and the burden of student loan debt as issues that have helped Sanders build momentum. He has campaigned on reducing student debt and making college free.

“It’s not surprising to me that that candidate would attract a lot of young people,” Geewax said.

Geewax was at the University of Georgia on Thursday to speak with journalism students about business reporting in Washington, D.C. She is a senior business news editor at NPR.

By James C. Thompson

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