Trump 2016: Archie Bunker runs for president

Leading the GOP presidential polls at the moment is billionaire birther Donald Trump — “a qualitative leap beyond the feisty maleducated discourse” of Tea Party candidates, says sociologist Lawrence Rosenthal, director of the Center for Right-Wing Studies.

Archie Bunker and black neighbor, Lionel Jefferson

Archie Bunker runs into his neighbor, Lionel Jefferson, at a blood bank, in this episode of All in the Family.

Writing on the Berkeley Blog, Rosenthal traces the history of conservative candidates from Reagan to Trump, who in politics resembles Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, he says, and in rhetorical style — “argument-by-insult” — recalls All in the Family‘s Archie Bunker.

In a postscript, Rosenthal notes that conservative politics have, in the past, produced “unlikely side effects of a progressive nature,” such as loosening up public attitudes about divorce and interracial marriage and (in Trump’s case) providing fodder to Citizens United opponents.

Read Rosenthal’s post on the Berkeley Blog.