The United States and the world have now spent two years trying to figure out how to deal with an anti-social president. The task holds even more import over the next two years as Democrats and Never Trump Republicans consider how to challenge an incumbent president in 2020. Formulating an effective strategy should start by recognizing the ways Trumpian discourse adheres to prototypical “trolling” behavior and responding accordingly.
Trump’s immigration metaphors set a divisive tone from the top. His immigration metaphors do not constitute “plain speaking,” “strong language,” or “passionate debate,” nor can they be innocently excused as his “own style.” His language is textbook demagoguery, and his immigration metaphors help constitute our current sociopolitical moment.
Words take center stage in the verbal sparring of the Twitter age. But, amidst the endless talk and noise of today’s political landscape, we often overlook the powerful communicative potential of silence.
Trump’s tweet on the anniversary of Charlottesville fails to conceptualize racism as anything other than a decontextualized form of personal prejudice unconnected to current and historical power relations in US society.