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The New York Times Analysis of a Week’s Worth of Donald Trump’s speeches

2015-12-07

The most striking hallmark was Mr. Trump’s constant repetition of divisive phrases, harsh words and violent imagery that American presidents rarely use, based on a quantitative comparison of his remarks and the news conferences of recent presidents, Democratic and Republican. He has a particular habit of saying “you” and “we” as he inveighs against a dangerous “them” or unnamed other — usually outsiders like illegal immigrants (“they’re pouring in”), Syrian migrants (“young, strong men”) and Mexicans, but also leaders of both political parties.

via 95,000 Words, Many of Them Ominous, From Donald Trump’s Tongue – The New York Times.

The New York Times (NYT) has taken the trouble to quantitatively analyze all 85,000 words spoken by Mr. Trump in one week– and they are ominous, threatening, fascistic words.  Delivered in his breezy, off-the-cuff style, with unapologetic falsehoods, his words are increasingly prompting the support of a know-nothing, atavistic electorate.

In another pattern, Mr. Trump tends to attack a person rather than an idea or a situation, like calling political opponents “stupid” (at least 30 times), “horrible” (14 times), “weak” (13 times) and other names, and criticizing foreign leaders, journalists and so-called anchor babies. He bragged on Thursday about psyching out Jeb Bush by repeatedly calling him “low-energy,” but he spends far less time contrasting Mr. Bush’s policies with his own proposals, which are scant.

Here’s a mythical anecdote on the San Bernadino massacre:

… on Friday night in Raleigh, he mocked people who reportedly did not contact the authorities with concerns about the California shooting suspects for fear of racial profiling.

“Can anybody be that dumb?” Mr. Trump said. “We have become so politically correct that we don’t know what the hell we’re doing. We don’t know what we’re doing.”

As I noted in a previous post (“Comment of the Day”) Trump ignores or contradicts facts and confirmed realities:

… Mr. Trump uses rhetoric to erode people’s trust in facts, numbers, nuance, government and the news media, according to specialists in political rhetoric. “Nobody knows,” he likes to declare, where illegal immigrants are coming from or the rate of increase of health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act, even though government agencies collect and publish this information. He insists that Mr. Obama wants to accept 250,000 Syrian migrants, even though no such plan exists, and repeats discredited rumors that thousands of Muslims were cheering in New Jersey during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

His rhetorical style and the substance of his attacks is patterned after well-known demagogues of the past:

This pattern of elevating emotional appeals over rational ones is a rhetorical style that historians, psychologists and political scientists placed in the tradition of political figures like Goldwater, George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Huey Long and Pat Buchanan, who used fiery language to try to win favor with struggling or scared Americans. Several historians watched Mr. Trump’s speeches last week, at the request of The Times, and observed techniques — like vilifying groups of people and stoking the insecurities of his audiences — that they associate with Wallace and McCarthy.

What sets him apart from previous fascists demagogues of the past is his winning personal style:

A significant difference between Mr. Trump and 20th-century American demagogues is that many of them, especially McCarthy and Wallace, were charmless public speakers. Mr. Trump, by contrast, is an energetic and charismatic speaker who can be entertaining and ingratiating with his audiences. There is a looseness to his language that sounds almost like water-cooler talk or neighborly banter, regardless of what it is about.

For some historians, this only makes him more effective, because demagogy is more palatable when it is leavened with a smile and joke.

Mr. Trump is the fascist demagogue par excellence.  By the way, the word “demagogue”, as described by commenters, comes from the same class of words as “pedagogue” and literally means “leader of the people”, just as “pedagogue” originally meant a leader of the children, that is, the slave who escorted children to school.  The words have come to mean something pejorative, a despised class of orator in this case.

There is a distinct probability that Mr. Trump will become the Republican nominee for President, and if he doesn’t, that he will, despite his pledge, become a third-party candidate.  Either way, he will shift his attacks to Mrs. Clinton and become ever more vitriolic as he describes her liberal supporters, possibly as closet Communists and subverters of the American Dream, responsible for preventing America from “becoming Great again.”  There is no question that Mr. Trump is a narcissist, only out for what it can get him, and when he loses the general election, he will still win because his  name-recognition will increase even further.  If he were to win the Presidency, he would turn over his administration to the same Republican conservative administrators and cronies who served President George W. Bush, that is if he does not make over the country in his fascistic mold.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Richard L Steagall permalink
    2015-12-07 09:30

    The rejection of facts to accept ideology was the essence of Hitler/Goebbels press releases and speeches throughout the Nazis existence.

    I have always — and still — believe Americans are smarter than the Germans of that era.

    But a Donald getting even this far running for President should give anyone pause

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

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