Another year almost done! Sit back, relax, and read some of the most-clicked articles on the website in 2019.
What sets apart Obama’s “Yes, we can” from most of the current Democratic candidates’ slogans?
Since the mid-twentieth century, many Americans have seen free speech as primarily serving an inclusive and egalitarian concept of public space and political legitimacy. This view draws on stories of anti-war protestors and civil rights activists, like Mario Savio and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. An opposing view of free speech was on offer in President Trump’s March 2019 executive order to “protect free speech on campus.” While the impact of the order itself has been up for debate, its signing ceremony was an inflection point for a conservative vision of free speech as the province of normatively gendered whiteness.
The political struggle over the Mueller report illustrates the tortuous social life of a text—especially a text fraught with high political stakes for a sitting president. Special counsel regulations required Robert Mueller to communicate his “prosecution or declination decisions” in a report to the attorney general who would then provide a summary to Congress—ensuring the report would pass through several links of a twisty speech chain before reaching the public.
When it comes to policy arguments around complex issues like climate change, the messenger can be just as important as the message in mobilizing support for policy responses.
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.