Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Resistance and Trump's reelection

I know that Donald Trump was only inaugurated a bit over three months ago but I had an insight about his chances to be reelected based on pop culture reaction to previous presidents.

For this I'm using modern presidents because I'm basing this partly on the relationship between the president and pop culture. Kennedy was assassinated before he could run for reelection and Johnson was a special case. So for this exercise, I'm starting with Nixon and continuing through Obama.

During that period there have been five Republican presidents: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush(41) and Bush(43). There were three Democrats: Carter, Clinton, and Obama.

Now here's the interesting part, Nixon, Reagan and Bush(43) were hated in pop culture. All three had constant protests and inspired numerous dystonian predictions. They were often openly mocked. Take this example from the comic strip Doonsbury.  CBS ran a two hour special by a British puppeteer group that was mainly an anti-Reagan screed. You can see a sample of their work here. Things went into high gear under Bush(43). Several major movies were released with strong anti-Iraq messages (they all tanked). Cable news channel MSNBC reinvented itself as the anti-Bush channel led by Keith Olbermann. Whoppi Goldburg went on a drunken tear during an awards show comparing her pubic hair to the president.

I could give lots of other examples. My point is that the Democrats hated all three of these presidents with a white hot anger. And all three were reelected. Nixon and Reagan won record landslides. Bush(43) didn't do as well but he was still the first president to win a majority of the vote in four elections.

What about Ford and Bush(41)? They were mocked a bit, mainly on SNL. But there were no marches, no major protests. They were tolerated. And they lost.

It's harder to apply this to the Democrats. Pop culture is dominated by people who are Democrat-friendly. But anti-Clinton sentiment bubbled up in other places. Rush Limbaugh became amazingly popular as the resistance to Clinton. The same thing happened with Glen Beck and Obama. These radio celebrities led the resistance to Clinton and Obama respectively. Republicans hated both of these presidents. The Gingrinch Revolution and the Tea Party rose to fight these presidents. And they failed miserably. Both presidents were reelected easily.

Carter was a different matter. There was no widespread resistance to him. There were no protests. Even SNL ignored him. And he lost.

So here we are with Trump. The left hates him with a passion. They've marched in the street in the hundreds of thousands. But it doesn't matter. In fact, all of that hate probably helps Trump. He's not the monster that the left makes him out to be and reasonable people tend to recoil from unreasonable hatred.

So all of this hatred is likely to increase Trump's chances of reelection.

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