There’s a prevailing and hopeful theory that art is better when Republicans are in power. It makes some sense: Creative expression is a wonderful way to heal, make a statement against, and commiserate with others after a traumatic event. Trump’s win last month was a serious blow to human rights, freedom, and equality, which could inspire some passionate artistic responses.
Not everyone sees such an upside to a Trump presidency. Jessica Hopper at MTV News took issue with this sentiment, calling it the “Silver-Lining Myth” and decrying that music “isn’t going to get any better under Trump.”
Regardless of whether artistic output improves or not, culture will change under Trump. His authoritarian views and his divisive “Make America Great Again” ideology are a stark and terrifying contrast to Obama. In the book Culture Moves: Ideas, Activism, and Changing Values, scholar Thomas R. Rochon asserts that culture is dictated by changing values. When values are converted, connected, or created, drastic cultural change can occur.
Some may argue that culture is more fractured than it was in previous periods of social change (like the ’60s), due to the overwhelming choices we have for TV, movies, music, video games, and other entertainment in the digital age. Subcultures thrive. Just think of all the different “cons” there are—IndieCon, WonderCon, and DragCon, to name a few. But, it could also be argued that a monoculture that loves light denim jeans, the “simple life,” Duck Dynasty, and xenophobia, is what got Trump elected in the first place. Republicans have a homogenous political life just as much as they have a homogenous cultural life, now fueled even more with the help of the Internet.
So yes, culture will change. Here are predictions, based on past historical trends for leaders like Trump, for how his presidency will affect culture, for better and for worse.