The Last Time Hollywood Writers Went On Strike, Trump Got Elected President. Yes, Really

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The 2007 Hollywood writers’ strike ended up getting Donald Trump elected president, according to a theory from a Twitter thread that went viral Monday.

The thread, written by Los Angeles-based comedian Ashley Ray in response to a new writers’ strike that started Tuesday morning, claimed that many people don’t remember how bad TV got during the 2007 strike. Scripted shows were so terrible, Ray explained, that audiences turned en masse to reality TV.

The great thing about reality TV is that 99 percent of it is unscripted. Sure, the producers step in to shake things up here and there, but generally speaking, reality TV is actually pretty darn real. You don’t need writers, so the quality of those shows was far more consistent during 2007.

One of the biggest shows at the time was “The Apprentice,” starring none other than the future commander-in-chief, Donald J. Trump. The shift toward reality TV led to a bigger budget for the competition show and saved it from cancellation, according to Ray. The strike also coincided with the creation of the spin-off “Celebrity Apprentice,” which boosted the show’s flagging ratings and kept Trump in the spotlight all the up through 2015, when he launched his presidential campaign.

Ray didn’t say specifically that the 2007 writers strike led to Trump being elected president. But the socio-psychological math is definitely adding up here. While Trump had a huge reputation long before “The Apprentice,” the show carried his skills and leadership style into millions of American homes.

Prior to the show airing, Trump was seen almost as an enigma. He was popular like Ric Flair, but no one really knew the real Trump, just a projection of his vibe through the print media. I’ve been told repeatedly, even by far-leftists, that Trump is an incredibly caring person to do business with. “The Apprentice” gave everyone in America the opportunity to see that, and could well have been a deciding factor in many people’s choice to vote for him in 2016. (RELATED: Reading ‘Lord Of The Rings’ And ‘1984’ Could Lead To Right-Wing Extremism, Gov’t Report Warns)

Ray is clearly dealing with a huge amount of Twitter backlash from her statements, but I think she’s absolutely correct that TV got worse in 2007. A writer’s strike right now feels timely, and will push more people back to watching news and reality shows … right as we head into another election cycle in which Trump is making another bid for the presidency. Is history about to repeat itself? We’ll just have to find out.