Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Donald Trump Is Your Odd Uncle, Archie Bunker

I've been thinking about Donald Trump, trying not to be inordinately disturbed that 20 percent of his supporters think it was a bad idea to outlaw slavery. Despite that, I think he's gotten where he has in the race not because people generally support him on the "issues." They support the outsider, the one who "tells it like it is," the one who doesn't owe anyone anything. (I find that aspect of Trump appealing, to be honest. I just don't like what he does with it.)

At least half of his success so far comes from the sheer force of his celebrity and all the free media he's gotten because of it. Many of his supporters, in my opinion, feel as though they know him, like they do other characters on shows they watch or celebrities they're attached to. Trump is a friend. Or at least he's that slightly odd uncle, but hey, he's my odd uncle.

And then it occurred to me Trump is also benefiting from the Archie Bunker effect. If you thought the show All in the Family was clearly a satire of Archie's beliefs, you're right, but that doesn't mean a good chunk of the audience didn't agree with him and feel validated by his existence. Lots of media sociologists have studied this effect. It also happened with Stephen Colbert's The Colbert Report, hard as that is to believe.

The motivated reasoning of a human brain is a marvel to behold.

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