No, Donald Trump’s hair is not one of Voldemort’s horcruxes. But according to a soon-to-be-published study in a special election edition of PS: Political Science and Politics, there is a relationship between fans of J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series and the tiny-fingered presidential candidate.
Namely, they don’t like him. “In fact,” reads the writeup of the study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, “the more books the participants read, the greater the effect.”
The study, titled “Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald,” was written by University of Pennsylvania political science and communication professor Diana Mutz, and examines what Mutz calls the “Harry Potter effect.” The effect is powerful too — even when controlling for factors known to predict a person’s attitudes toward Trump (party identification, gender, age, level of education, evangelical self-identification, and something called “social dominance orientation”), it remained.
Which is sort of a huge deal. The last time a book influenced public opinion of an issue, the issue was slavery, and the book was Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
So why is Harry Potter all of a sudden changing peoples’ minds?
“Because Trump’s political views are widely viewed as opposed to the values espoused in the Harry Potter series,” Mutz writes in the study, “exposure to the Potter series may play an influential role in influencing how Americans respond to Donald Trump.”
Read: Trump’s values are similar to Voldemort’s. In the study, Mutz looked at three key themes found in Harry Potter: the value of tolerance and respecting others’ differences, opposition to violence, and opposition to authoritarianism. If you think back on some of Trump’s recent campaign speeches, you’ll start to realize that he and Harry seem diametrically opposed.
Take, for example, that authoritarian point. “As does Voldemort,” Mutz writes, “Trump portrays himself as a strongman who can bend others to his will, be they the Chinese government or terrorists.”