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Comparing Fictional Characters to Trump Supporters Doesn’t Really Work, but Twitter Tried

Clear eyes, full hearts, ERIC TAYLOR WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP, can't lose.

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Fictional characters are, in a lot of ways, idealized versions of humanity. Even the characters who probably would not be someone you’d want to talk to in real life can work onscreen as the most charitable version of what people might really be like. For example, characters of certain political affiliations frequently truly believe in the upstanding principles that supposedly drive their ideologies, whereas real people often use them as bad-faith talking points while failing to actually live up to them—or to support politicians who do.

Fictional characters have morals. Trump supporters? lol.

But when one Twitter user asked the internet what white character on television would probably be a Trump supporter in real life, the replies were both illuminating and also frustrating.

As someone currently watching Friday Night Lights, this is just a wrong example in general because Coach Eric Taylor would never, and also Tami Taylor would never speak to him again if he did vote for Donald Trump. But the problem is that these characters don’t exist in real life. Trust me. If they did, I’d be married to Eric Taylor.

(Let’s be real, it is J.D. McCoy’s dad who would be the huge Trump supporter anyway. And probably most of Dillon, Texas. Just not Eric Taylor.)

So, when comparing fictional characters to imaginary “real life” versions of them, then yes, that person would likely fail to live up to the idealized TV version of themselves in ways like … being a Trump supporter, but also that person would no longer be Eric Taylor, so the comparison just doesn’t hold up. Does that make sense? Let’s move on from my fictional husband to a character who frequently comes up in these conversations: Ron Swanson.

Ron Swanson, in the context of Parks and Recreation, is a libertarian. He probably isn’t actually registered to vote because that is too much information given to the government, and if you know anything about Ron, the one thing he doesn’t want is the government in his business.

So, saying that characters like Ron would vote for Trump is probably because we’re projecting actual Trump supporters onto fictional characters. A burly libertarian man wearing a polo with a mustache typically does fall into the category, but looking at the choices of Swanson as a fictional character, he’d hate someone like Trump because Ron, first and foremost, respects human beings in a way that Trump would absolutely hate. But there are, doubtless, many real people about whom we believe the same thing and who somehow justified a vote for Donald Trump to themselves anyway.

Anyway, we know that most of the citizens of Pawnee would vote for Trump, and Leslie would have a crisis of identity over it, and Ron would have to talk her down from freaking herself out and questioning everything about her politics.

Moving on, there were suggestions like Jim Hopper from Stranger Things. And Hopper, at his core, hated the mayor and opposed him any chance he could, so again, I don’t think that’s the case. Granted, the problem we’d face with any fictional character that could, potentially, vote for Donald Trump is that the fictional characters we know and love have more integrity than actual Trump supporters (and more of a conscience).

So yeah, there are exceptions to the rule, like Schmidt from New Girl, who had to campaign for Hillary Clinton when he didn’t want to vote for either of them, but also … Schmidt does represent a real group of Republicans who hate Trump but also refuse to vote Democrat.

At the end of the day, I don’t think we can really compare fictional characters to the real-life supporters of presidential candidates, because of course real people will let us down in ways idealized fictional versions of them never would—unless it’s written into the show, like Leslie Knope being very open about her love of Hillary Clinton (and Joe Biden, for that matter). Trust me, every time you try to do this, you’re going to have someone like me who swoops in to explain why that particular character probably wouldn’t have voted for Trump or supported him in any way.

Besides, Eric Taylor is too inspirational for this slander.


(featured image: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.