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Anti-establishment rhetoric helps win election for Trump

Just one year ago, nobody would have given Trump a cat's chance in the US presidential elections. Now he will be the next President of the United States. Professor of Journalism and New Media Jaap de Jong explains the rhetoric that has got Trump so far.

Maximum distance from 'political clique'

‘Donald Trump has the gift of simple, clear language,' says De Jong. ‘He uses very short sentences that pack a strong message, saying things like, "Put Clinton in jail. She’s bad. She’s really bad." Trump is constantly blaming and insulting people, and he plays a hard game. His strategy is to put as much distance as possible between him and the current "political clique". Clinton doesn't do that; she is part of that "clique". The language Trump uses is much baser than people are used to in presidential elections, and much more aggressive. He talks shamelessly, like guys together, portraying himself as supermacho.'

Jaap de Jong

Trump paints sombre picture

’Trump sketches a very sombre picture of the country. The wars that Americans have been involved in have at best come to nothing, there are no convincing plans to destroy IS, the economic treaties they've signed are meaningless and their allies don't pay enough for American aid. This is how he talks to that section of the population that is not happy. They then start thinking that under the Democrats everything has gone downhill and maybe Trump is a good alternative.' 

Winning every battle

‘Earlier in the campaign Trump insulted his fellow Republican candidate Ted Cruz, calling him "low energy". When Cruz eventually responded, Trump's retort was, "Finally he's showing some oomph." That kind of talk is difficult to fend off. Trump uses an intimidating style of communicating that belongs in the school yard to win every battle, one after the other.' 

No change card for Democrats

‘There have been times when Clinton has managed to hit back successfully. “Stop whining," she told Trump. "You just can't stand losing. If you've got a judge in front of you, the legal system is wrong; if you lose the election, the electoral system is wrong." That was a really strong response from her. One disadvantage is that she can't play the change card; Trump can. The Democrats have occupied the White House for a long time, but they haven't delivered on their promises. Not even Obama, although that's partly because the Republicans have scuppered a lot of his plans.'  

More disruption

‘We are living in more disruptive times, times when the accepted rules of play and political communication no longer apply,' says De Jong. 'Take the Philippines where Rodrigo Duterte has been elected president. People are being shot dead because they may possibly have had some drugs connection...'   

This isn't what Bob Dylan had in nind when he sang 'The times they are a-changin'.'


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