Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Michael Soha


The 2016 presidential election was so full of unusual characters and unprecedented scandals, that media outlets, from the nightly news to late-night, had to adjust to this new normal in politics. Indeed, not even the jokesters on the handful of political satire shows on television were immune to the necessary changes that all the media had to take in covering Donald Trump. Given how many people tuned into to these shows each week, it is no surprise that the role that political satire television may have played in the election results was fodder for those giving post-election hot takes. Many think pieces asserted that political satire shows may have had a hand in normalizing the candidacy of Donald Trump, while others suggested that perhaps satire is one of the best ways to resist a Trump candidacy, and later presidency. That dichotomy is the impetus for this paper, which seeks to specifically analyze the ways in which certain satirists and their television outlets may have normalized or resisted Trump, and how those two opposing views fit into the larger discussion of both media effects research, and the historical relevance of satire as a key component to a functioning democracy.