The Rise of Trump and the Death of Civility

28 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018

See all articles by Keith J. Bybee

Keith J. Bybee

Syracuse University - College of Law; Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Date Written: May 24, 2018

Abstract

According to supporters and opponents alike, Donald Trump has been an unconventional candidate and president. In this paper, I evaluate the relationship between Trump’s unconventional behavior and the requirements of civility. I provide a definition of civility, and I explain why it makes sense to relate Trump’s actions to civil norms. I then discuss how civility is enacted, I examine criticisms of civility’s triviality, and I explore the ways in which civility may repress dissent and maintain hierarchy. Although I consider the degree to which Trump’s actions are strategic, I ultimately argue that Trump’s incivilities are an effort to initiate a revolution in manners. In undertaking this effort, Trump is participating in a longstanding American tradition of determining standards of appropriate conduct through political conflict.

Keywords: Donald Trump, Civility, American Politics, Norms, Manners, Dissent, Hierarchy, Democracy

Suggested Citation

Bybee, Keith James, The Rise of Trump and the Death of Civility (May 24, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3184321 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3184321

Keith James Bybee (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - College of Law ( email )

321 Eggers Hall
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY 13244-1030
United States
315-443-9743 (Phone)

Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs ( email )

400 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
49
Abstract Views
270
PlumX Metrics