Do American Politics Need Villains to Be Successful?

The Populism-Heavy 2016 Election Is Dominated by Resentment, but That Doesn't Mean Future Elections Have to Be the Same

For most of 2016, American politics could best be described as caught in a populist moment. Populism has always come in two variations, and we’ve seen both this year. The most familiar form, ably represented in all its raw madness-of-crowds by Donald Trump, is based on resentment of immigrants and other non-majority identities (racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious most prominently), and rancor directed at political elites for their perceived role in changing social norms. This is the populism familiar from historian Richard Hofstadter’s “status anxiety” explanation of late 19th Century …

More In: Bernie Sanders

Almost Any Politician in a Democracy Is a Bit of a Demagogue

A Classicist, a Historian, and a Rhetorician Talk Trump, Clinton, and Cleon

There’s plenty of nastiness in our democracy. But is there anything new?

For all the fear and consternation about the lies, insults, conspiracy theories, and rhetorical excesses of the 2016 presidential …

Is Donald Trump a Rhetorical Virtuoso?

The Incendiary Candidate’s Popularity Isn’t Surprising If You Understand the Art of Persuasion

For thousands of years, rhetoric, the art of persuasion, was a core area of study in our schools. And rightly so. It was widely accepted that speaking and persuasion together …

Can Socialists Lose an Election and Still Get Their Revolution?

Upton Sinclair Failed in His 1934 Bid to Govern California, but His Radical Campaign Left a Lasting Mark on Politics

A self-proclaimed socialist decides to run for high office. And, for practical political reasons, he becomes a Democrat to do so.

Soon he attracts enthusiastic supporters to his cause with …