• Project Title: Trump's Rhetorical Legacy: An Analysis of the Impact of Donald Trump's Violations in the Public Standard of Deliberation

  • BASIS Advisor: Erin Vander Wall

  • Internship Location: BASIS Independent McLean

During the 2016 general election debates, Donald Trump violated certain public deliberation norms in the United States. The former president’s violations include the use of false claims, excessive exaggeration of issues, and points difficult to understand. His victory in 2016 demonstrates such norm violations were accepted by the American public. However, the question remains whether Trump’s changes in the standard of deliberation were an anomaly in public speaking or part of a general trend. There is a gap in scholars’ understanding of whether such changes in deliberation have subsisted in 2022. This study will examine the debate performances of various candidates running for election in the 2022 midterms in order to see the extent to which they violated select norms that Trump also violated. Examining these findings along with the success of the chosen candidates, primarily chosen for the similarities they have in the speaking style with the former President, will determine if Trump’s violations were an anomaly or the start of a recurring trend. Conclusions from this study may suggest new insights about techniques that may be advantageous for future speakers to use. In addition, it will advance our understanding of what the American voting populace looks for in presidential candidates.