In the 1970s, the TV show “All In the Family” was a national hit. It featured a working-class, lovable bigot named Archie Bunker, played by actor Carroll O’Connor. Bunker’s view on America, politics, gays, Hispanics, Blacks, Jews and life were laughable 44 years ago. But today it’s close to the same rhetoric spewed by Donald Trump. The show aired for eight years in its original run and spawned the spin-off, “Archie Bunker’s Place,” for another four years. The show’s most famous spin-off was “The Jeffersons,” which became another top rated show among White and Black America. The writers of the show used biting satire to poke fun at political conservatives and White supremacists in a changing nation in the wake the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s.
One of the aspects of the show was the commonality that Archie Bunker had with Black businessman George Jefferson. On most political issues, Bunker and Jefferson, both bigoted, expressed agreement on many issues other than race. In fact, Bunker would complain about the “coloreds” coming into the neighborhood and the erosion of White male privilege. While Jefferson wanted the opportunity to expand his business in the White community, he ran into resistance because he was deemed “uppity” based on his business acumen and refusal to back down. Ultimately, each adjusted to the changing times while pursuing their own version of the American dream. Both shows produced by entertainment legend Norman Lear seem to still ring true some 40 years later with supporters of Donald Trump.
Much to the chagrin of the GOP establishment, Trump has become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Trump has a platform that resonates among the White working class as well as among many Blacks one would not expect to be among that demographic. The most telling example is that of Internet sensations “Diamond and Silk.” Trump’s campaign changes the perceived perception of the White males only establishment and expands it to the everyman working class.
Talk of jobs returning back to America and the lifting of governmental regulations that many say impede business development, play well among both White and Black voters. Even 1970s action films star Fred “The Hammer” Williamson is now a vocal supporter because of Trump’s business and cultural views. But this perception boggles the mind if you just look at Trump’s history; the man is not a friend of the working class. His bankruptcies resulted in mayhem among the working class in Atlantic City, New Jersey, when his casinos failed. But he came out unscathed and his brand improved when he entered the entertainment world with his hit TV show “The Apprentice.” On the program, all of America was given the image of a tough businessman focused on results and judging the efforts of others. Black and White were given the same requirements and only the best persevered in challenges.
Now with the suspension of the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Trump has a substantive chance of not only winning the Republican nomination but perhaps even being elected the next U.S. president. If Trump’s opponent is Hillary Clinton, which it appears is a foregone conclusion, voters will be choosing between the businessman and the ultimate political female insider. If his opponent is Bernie Sanders, it will be the ultimate socialist versus the ultimate capitalist.