The Rise of Trump and the Death of Civility
28 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 24, 2018
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
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