A Rhetoric of Divisive Partisanship
Colleen Elizabeth Kelley
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
A Rhetoric of Divisive Partisanship: The 2016 American Presidential Campaign Discourse of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump examines the campaign speeches of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump as they targeted members of the American public that were ideologically different but equally emotionally vulnerable. Each appealed to marginalized segments of the electorate, groups at opposite ends of the political spectrum, joined through a shared distrust and fear of politics instead of political or even party affiliation. Both Sanders and Trump polarized and reinforced their respective bases as “outsiders.” Both relied on anti-establishment arguments and discussions grounded in personal attacks against “enemies” during which they joined their target audiences as marginalized outsiders united through a desire to overthrow the status quo and re-claim America. The book expands on previous ideas about dialogue and political talk and asserts that rather than serving as a model of civic and civil discourse, the rhetoric of Sanders and Trump was reactionary and divisive, begun with different intentions and producing different results.