If you're a child of the '70s like me, "All in the Family" became a frame of reference for a lot of things. Specifically, the show's lead character of Archie Bunker came to define a certain urban, blue-collar-type -- far from "liberated" on matters of race and gender, pro-Nixon (or, "Richard E. Nixon," as Archie used to call him), anti-hippie, pro-Vietnam War, pro-"law-and-order."
In real life, his persona was perhaps defined by the so-called "hard-hat riot" of 1970, when construction workers in Lower Manhattan busted heads at an anti-war protest. And in Philadelphia, conservative white ethnics created an icon -- Frank Rizzo, nightstick-wielding cop turned mayor, so politically incorrect that he said his tenure would make "Attila the Hun look like a faggot."
Then the 1970s, and "Archie Bunker" -- real and imagined -- went under the radar. In 1979, "All in the Family" went off the air and then Rizzo left City Hall. But more critical was the acceleration in the late 1960s and early 1970s of "white flight" -- blue-collar folks leaving their rowhouses for the suburbs (or Florida, or the cemetary) while factory jobs vanished and urban neighborhoods saw new immigrants or non-whites supplanting the older white population. But these folks never fully went away.
In Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo -- in a failed bid to recapture the mayorality -- joined the GOP in 1987 and a lot of his supporters jumped parties with him. Citywide, the GOP is outnumbered by Democrats in a 7-1 ratio -- but to the extent that Archie Bunker lives, he is a Philadelphia Republican.
And in 2016, Archie Bunker loves -- and I mean LOVES -- the politically incorrect, short-fingered vulgarian named Donald Trump.
More proof comes by way of the latest Keystone Poll of Pennsylvania voters, run by the Franklin and Marshall political scientist Terry Madonna and released today. On the Republican side, it shows Trump leading among likely Republican primary voters with 22 percent, ahead of Marco Rubio (16 percent), John Kasich (15 percent) and Ted Cruz (12 percent).
But, as first noted earlier today by the excellent Raging Chicken Press, when the poll broke down the state into regions, Philadelphia is Trump Country. It found 50 percent of city Republicans backing The Donald -- and no other candidate breaking out of single digits! The problem, of course, is that any sample of Philadelphia GOPers is, by definition, small. But in recent days, I've looked at polls showing Trump's highest levels of strength are in states like New Jersey and Massachusetts, heavily urban Eastern states where the abrasive billionaire also polls int he 35-50 percent rate among Republicans.
This makes sense, right? Trump's biggest appeal, culturally, is to voters who hate political correctness, who insist that Trump -- despite his high rate of dishonesty in the reality-based world -- is "telling it like it is." The younger cohorts in this group (and by "younger" I mean folks under 55) grew up listening to Howard Stern and other shock jocks pushing the boundary of acceptable speech just like candidate Trump is. And -- living in places like Boston and Philly where they're governed by Democrats and surrounded by smug liberals (like me) -- Trump's noxious comments feel like fresh air to them.