The afternoon of Tuesday, 8th of November 2016 was a revelation for the world – Donald Trump, the promiscuous billionaire who had made his fortune from selling real estate at New York’s finest areas, became the 45th president of the United States.
After the 2016 election, in an estimated call of one minute, Hillary Clinton, the rival, and the soon to be president exchanged a brief congratulations and some civil adjectives - for once. Clinton has later expressed how surprised the coming president sounded after her phone call to concede, and how this made her worried for the role he was about to take on.
Political experts such as The Guardian had predicted a win for the democrats, contemplating Trump's lack of experience and his use of anti-political rhetoric in the campaign. Taking the predictions and expectations into consideration, how did Trump manage to stun political watchers, pollsters and the world. And more importantly, how on earth did an avaricious bachelor that had none to little knowledge about the world of politics become the president of the United States of America?
American politics is often ferocious, that said, Donald Trump has taken the use of rhetoric to new extents. According to the infamous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, rhetoric is “the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion”. Even though Trump has most likely not studied Aristotle’s theories concerning rhetoric, his ways of appealing to his viable voters is relevant to the ethos of rhetoric, “the art to persuade.”
The word “decorum” origins from a rhetorical strategy that is based on the style of appropriateness.
Considering Trump's style of speaking, appealing and managing situations, it is possible to conclude that Trump is entirely without decorum. In fact, Trump's use of rhetoric is adjacent to decorum, making his rhetoric indecorum, “failure to conform to good propriety”. Thus, indecorum is often found in informal situations, or in this case, anti-political rhetoric.
By using decorum rhetoric as political propaganda, the Trump campaign has managed to present themselves as a campaign of geniality, “the quality of having a cheerful manner”. Indeed, this may just be the main point of this whole article, Trump is a genius by using his prestige authority to manipulate the public. By appearing and seeming like he understands the people (or the voters) frustrations, he is describing the circumstances and conditions as intricate. Making the voters almost infantilizing themselves, viewing Trump as a prototypical American, and a demagogue of voice, who they would otherwise feel voiceless and helpless without.
Instead of making the voters feel independent, they feel dependent on Trump to lead them through the tragedy of the present.
They focus on the message and not holding him accountable for his ways of political incorrectness or his arousal of the nationalists and the fascists of the country.
Taking into account the fact that Trump is a demagogue for his voters, his supporters will think of him as a great leader – perhaps even the best. On the opposite hand, the ones in opposition to his politics, may view him as a terrible leader. These views create a separation between the groups, the ones in favor of him, and the group that does not offer their support, forcing them to choose a side. The so-called “sides” may not only just represent the individual's political view, but the individuality of their character. Meaning that political polarization will be generated, resulting in America deepening inequality and growing political wars.
To consider the use of Donald Trump’s rhetoric in a presidential election, the rhetoric’s play an immense role, not just to the outcome of the election, but also to the country’s dynamic. By using anti-political rhetoric, not only will the politics but the inhabitants of the US be affected in a much greater way, - and in this case, negatively.
Maybe it is time for the republican party to bring back some class. My tip? Read a book or two about what Aristotle’s actually meant by using rhetoric’s for social security.