In the one week since the historic election of Donald Trump, I like many others have been left wondering why or how the era of Donald Trump arrived. And just one way to look at it is from the face of the most popular reality show—Keeping Up with the Kardashians and white women voters. At least 53% of white women voters voted for President-elect Trump; whereas 94% of African American women voted for Hillary Clinton. And 68% of Latino women voted for Clinton. This begs the question as to why there is such a great disparity between white women and women of color voters.
For white women voters, it is not so easy just to analyze them solely on the theory of the economy and the rural areas of the country—middle America doing poorly in relation to other parts of the country. One factor, not addressed before, is the Kim Kardashian reality show factor. Kim Kardashian and the Kardashians are followed by many white women. I don’t honestly know many black women who look up to Kim Kardashian or keep up with any of the Kardashians. There is a large segment of white women who follow the Kardashians. By way of background, the Kardashian factor came into popularity upon a 2003 leaked sex tape with Kim Kardashian and singer Ray J in 2007. It propelled her and her family members into almost instant success when their reality show began later in 2007—and hasn’t stopped since then.
Hillary Clinton and Democrats spoke of Donald Trump’s lewd 2005 sexist statements with Billy Bush, those about grabbing pu- –y anytime he wanted, his comments about Rosie O’Donnell being fat and ugly, ditto about a former Ms. Universe, in an attempt to resonate with women voters. Some online supporters of Hillary Clinton posted nude modeling photographs of Melania Trump posing with nude women before her marriage. The obvious attempt was to compare Melania Trump’s image to that of Michelle Obama. And another reason was to malign Melania Trump as a potential First Lady.
And here’s where the Kim Kardashian effect comes into play. Any attempt at shaming Donald Trump on his sexist remarks or body shaming his wife failed with some white women voters. There was an overall disconnect with the segment of white women voters who faithfully follow Kim Kardashian either on air, on Twitter with her 47 million followers, Instagram with 78 million followers or Snapchat. Kim Kardashian, a married mother of two children, constantly posts selfies of her almost and sometimes naked body in an attempt to “break the Internet”.
Reality shows have become a way of life for many TV watching persons. I would surmise that more people faithfully watch reality shows that the news driven media. Next time, a reality star runs for any office, national or local, or for that matter any political candidate, it would make sense for candidates, pollsters and political scientists to research reality shows and their effect on the population. It will give a glimpse into how our reality show driven nation and its voters will vote and why. Those Kim Kardashian supporters could likely care less about Trump’s sexist remarks or nude photos of Melania Trump as many voted for Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, there is no reality in Trump’s Apprentice show or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There are only real life consequences for actions taken by the future President. If Hillary Clinton had appeared on Keeping Up with the Kardashians and been endorsed by Kim Kardashian, she might have won the white women vote—and maybe the election.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal analyst and former Baltimore prosecutor. She frequently appears on air on MSNBC, Al Jazeera, BET, CBS, Fox 5 DC, PBS among others. Her op-ed articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post and Baltimore Sun.