OPINION | Barry Richard: Roseanne’s and Trump’s Bases Misunderstood
The media is still buzzing about Roseanne's record-setting reboot on ABC this week, but few seem to really understand why it happened.
18.2 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 tuned in on Tuesday night. That is the key demographic that the industry seeks. What's interesting about the demographic is that many of them were either not yet born or too young to remember when the series signed off 21 years ago.
The pundits are correct to suggest that Americans want more from the entertainment industry than the usual pablum that is offered up by left-leaning Hollywood. That is clear by the poor ratings for much of what is offered up by what we used to call "the big three" networks. It also reflects why film fans are avoiding the theaters in droves.
It is true that Roseanne offers a fresh alternative for frustrated Americans who are tired of being lectured to by the elite class. Like Donald Trump, Roseanne taps into the sense of abandonment that " the forgotten man" and "the forgotten woman" relate to. But, what the analysts still don't understand is just exactly who we are.
Conservative scribe Ben Shapiro writes for The Daily Wire;
"There is something else going on in Roseanne that should disturb conservatives: the rendition of Trump supporters as blue-collar leftists rather than conservatives."
Trump was not the candidate of the conservatives, many of whom continue to nip at his heels. He was able to win without the hardcore conservatives and with the help of white women, blacks, Latinos and yes gays. It's not only conservatives who believe the system is broken.
Trump's base, as with Roseanne's, is a diverse group of people, many of whom are blue-collar who for one reason or another are discouraged with the status quo and felt a need for radical change. To try to brand the Trump base as conservative or suggest that conservatives could not find Roseanne interesting is to continue with the same old identity politics that were rejected by voters in the 2016 elections.
Political analysts have learned little about the Trump revolution. That is evident in the everyday coverage they provide of the administration. Perhaps historians will do a better job in detailing just why Trump won and why his appeal is widespread.