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The meaning of @realdonaldtrump

How significant can a tweet can be? We can point to isolated cases of individual tweets going viral, creating controversy and producing material outcomes in the world. But isolated tweets rarely have such significance. Instead, we need to look at a Twitter feed as a unit of analysis, taking someone’s entire […]

Donald Trump’s Words of Power

In an old essay about Heidegger’s conception of language, the philosopher Charles Taylor invokes the notion of ‘words of power’ to explain the power of Hitler’s rhetoric. Once we move away from a sense of language as an expression of individual meanings and purposes, we find ourselves somewhere entirely differently: […]

The coming army of American demagogues

There’s an interesting extract in this Guardian article about the growing civil war in the Republican party, concerning the adoption of Trump’s tactics by aspirant politicians within the party: Trump’s refusal to support McCain and Ryan comes exactly one week before Ryan faces a primary challenge from the businessman Paul […]

The Accleration of Political Rhetoric

From Confidence Men, by Ron Susskind, pg 23-24: But it was hard to know how even Lincoln’s rhetorical genius would have met the awesome challenge of modern politics: to explain hugely complex problems and offer first-step solutions in all of sixty seconds. Hillary Clinton could do it just like Lincoln […]

Donald Trump: The Reluctant Fascist

Until relatively recently, I’d assumed that Donald Trump’s political ambitions amounted to little more than self-promotion, not unlike Sarah Palin’s post-2008 career trajectory. Sean Illing suggests this is still the case and that Trump’s recent pronouncements can be seen as increasingly desperate attempts to disqualify himself while creating a media storm: […]