Articles on Political rhetoric

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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the October 9 presidential town hall debate. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Donald Trump and the dangerous rhetoric of portraying people as objects

An expert in political rhetoric singles out Trump's repeated use of reification – the tendency to treat people as things – and the role it's played in his tortured response to the leaked tape.
From Pericles to Trump, a good speech has been an integral part of the democratic process. William Chew/Flickr

In an age of rhetoric, Australian politics is missing the American flair

Australian politicians – unlike their American counterparts – have largely abandoned the art of stirring speeches. Good rhetoric doesn't equal good policy, but at least it's evidence of imaginative thinking.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he departs a Sept. 13 campaign rally in Clive, Iowa. Mike Segar/Reuters

The rise of a conspiracy candidate

The same forces that drive belief in conspiracy theories are the ones driving the rise of Donald Trump. So it's no wonder that, less than two months until the election, he continues to dabble in and promote them.
Protesters wearing masks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump march in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dominick Reuter/Reuters

Are U.S. politics beyond a joke?

From Alfonso the Wise's bawdy songs of slander to Ronald Reagan's sunny smile, politics and humor have gone hand-in-hand for centuries. But no one seems to be laughing anymore.
“Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned.” Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

In acceptance speech, Trump embraces role as hero of the forgotten

Trump appeared surprisingly presidential. According to a scholar of American political rhetoric, there were echoes of Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Reagan.
Supporters of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters hold a mock coffin of the governing ANC during an election rally in 2014. Reuters/Skyler Reid

South Africa’s politicians must guard against killer narratives

Unscrupulous politicians are adept at using regressive story lines that feed insecurities. That could be dangerous ahead of South Africa's hotly-contested municipal elections.
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 15, 2016. Jonathan Drake/Reuters

In the wake of tragedy, Trump takes rhetoric of fear to a whole new level

Two experts in political rhetoric explain how one candidate has used rhetorical devices like framing and 'argumentum in terrorem' to stoke fear and attract voters since the Orlando nightclub shooting.
Donald Trump is a spectre of things to come: of political performance in an age of projection rather than representation. EPA/Tannen Maury

Donald Trump: both the old crazy and the new normal

The faultlines in democratic politics are clear. On one side is a system of democracy that is bad at making people feel represented. On the other are anti-politician performers like Donald Trump.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Fox News debate in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28. Carlos Barria/Reuters

Politics of resentment on full display at GOP debate

According to an expert in political rhetoric, we shouldn't underestimate the power of the candidates who can skillfully tap into voter resentments.
Tony Abbott’s speech after losing the leadership differed from his recent predecessors’ efforts by making no mention of his successor. AAP/Sam Mooy

Abbott’s last speech as leader – no tears or laughs here

A politician's final statement as leader is their chance to have the last word. Tony Abbott's speech was telling in both what he chose to say and not to say.
Treasurer Joe Hockey’s failure to talk about basic measures of the economy in his second budget speech is telling. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Three missing letters say it all about Hockey’s budget pitch

A budget speech that fails to discuss basic measures of how the economy going is revealing in itself. Joe Hockey is the first treasurer since at least 1981 not to mention GDP.

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