Both these influences — the tribalism and the fear of cancel culture — can be seen in the Trump-vs.-Squad Simpsons clip. First is the laziness of the opening gag where Trump sings “No one but me in America, no taxes for me in America.”
It isn’t just that the gag is feeble. It is that the writers have given up. They know that the audience they are writing for will accepts slop as long as the message is vaguely reassuring. The Simpsons started as a parody of bland, conformist 1980s family sitcoms, but the writers of those sitcoms weren’t untalented. They were just scared and defeated. They knew that a phony, unmoving scene in which a kid learns a valuable lesson from a parental figure was safer than a much smarter joke that caused a stir. The opening Simpsons gag is the exact same kind of defeated conformism, only it is a conformism of political contempt. If you have the right target, better safe than funny.
The next gag is even more revealing. The Squad sings to Trump, “We’re more American than your wife.” If there is one thing liberals have been clear on, it is that the immigrant who takes the citizenship oath is immediately as American as the descendants of the Mayflower. It is a noble view, and therefore the people who produced that segment are at least as bigoted as the crowds who chanted “Send her back” about Congresswoman Omar.