New Book Explores Trump’s Political Rhetoric

“Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump” examines how the president exploited a divided electorate.

By Alexandra HartAugust 10, 2020 8:53 am, ,

Whether in the form of tweet outbursts or major speeches, Donald Trump’s political rhetoric has been picked apart in real time and analyzed in countless essays and thinkpieces. His rhetoric has been called “dark and divisive,” and inflammatory.

But is it also, in a sense, “genius”?

Jennifer Mercieca makes the case in her new book “Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump”. She’s associate professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, specializing in political rhetoric. She said she had been studying demagoguery for years when Trump began his campaign.

“I really thought that there would be like a new kind of demagogue who used spectacle and public relations and propaganda, and we didn’t really have that person until Donald Trump started his presidential campaign,” she said. “And so from that time on i’ve been paying attention to Trump’s rhetoric and what i thought about it.”

What you’ll hear in this interview:

– What Mercieca considers to be the two types of demagogues

– How Trump plays to issues and frustrations within the electorate

– What types of rhetorical strategies Trump uses

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