Harry Potter may be behind President Barack Obama’s two terms. At least if you trust Anthony Gierzynski – a political science professor at the University of Vermont, who claims that J.K. Rowling’s insanely profitable novel suite about the orphaned wizard “played a small but not insignificant role” in the 2008 and 2012 elections.
But just how did Harry Potter influence America’s decision to appoint President Obama?
“The lessons fans internalized about tolerance, diversity, violence, torture, skepticism and authority made the Democratic Party and Barack Obama more appealing to fans of Harry Potter in the current political environment,” Gierzynski explained, speaking to The College Fix.
His argument is that Millennials, who account for the majority of Rowling’s fan base, were so saturated in the books’ pronounced moralistic climate that the best-selling fantasy series infiltrated their own political views. The findings are published in Gierzynski’s latest book, Harry Potter and the Millennials: Research Methods and the Politics of the Muggle Generation.
According to The Daily Caller, Gierzynski‘s study surveyed over 1,000 college students born from 1980 and onward. Within this set, 60 percent of those who had read Harry Potter said they voted for Obama in 2008. In addition, 83 percent of Potter fans had unfavorable views of former President George W. Bush.
Did Harry Potter Have A Psychological Impact On Obama Voters?
The purported moral impact of the books may result from their tendency to deploy black-and-white, almost schematic representations of ethical values, as well as their clear distinction between right and wrong. Siding with characters is not a difficult choice; like Gierzynski says, the villains are “quite vocal in their bigotry.” What follows is a kind of moral inflation that cannot permit opposition to marriage equality and immigration reform.
“Attitudes in opposition to the use of violence, torture and deadly force came to be associated with the Democrats at the end of the Bush years, mainly in opposition to Bush administration policies and failures in these areas,” he says. “The opposition to equal marital rights for same-sex couples and immigration reform by the Republicans put those who support political tolerance … and those who are more accepting of diversity on the side of the Democrats.”
Republicans attempting to win back young supporters should “move away from the far right side of their party,” Gierzynski suggests.