Donald Trump and American Populism

Donald Trump and American Populism

by Richard S. Conley


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Dissecting the populist leadership style of President Donald Trump

  • Places Trump’s presidential leadership style within a comparatively historical and political development theoretical framework
  • Considers Trump’s use of social media as a form of public politics that represents an adaptation of presidential communication style to new technology while rebuffing the traditional bully pulpit
  • Assesses the impact of Trump’s negative rhetoric and efforts to challenge if not delegitimize other national institutions (Courts, Congress), question media truthfulness, and his personalization of political opponents
  • Employs case studies to weigh Trump’s political strategy, from mobilizing grassroots support to foreign diplomacy

This book evaluates the presidency of Donald Trump from a comparative, historical approach to connect his populist style to his predecessors.

Trump’s method of communication through social media obviously differs from previous candidates and presidents with populist platforms, but his themes - a disdain for elites, grassroots support, majoritarianism, anti-intellectual discourse, and nativism—borrow variably from such figures as Andrew Jackson, Huey Long, Barry Goldwater, and Ross Perot. As such, Trump’s approach to governance falls within a long tradition of populism dating to the 19th Century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781474450065
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 07/08/2020
Series: New Perspectives on the American Presidency
Pages: 372
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x (d)

About the Author

Dr Richard S. Conley is an Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of Florida. He is the author and editor of twelve academic books, including Presidential Leadership and National Security: The Obama Legacy and Trump Trajectory. (Routledge, 2017). His main research interests include American presidency, Congress, executive-legislative relations and comparative executives.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Populist Disrupter-in-Chief

Chapter 2: The Populist Precedent

Chapter 3: The Roots of Trump’s Populism

Chapter 4: 2016: Year of the Populists

Chapter 5: The Populist-Elect and the Permanent Campaign

Chapter 6: The Populist as Policymaker

Chapter 7: The Populist in Peril

Chapter 8: Epilogue: Quo Vadis?

Tables and Figures

Figure 2.1

Conceptualizing and Comparing Populist Candidates, Presidents, and Movements

Figure 2.2

Recurrent Structures in Presidential Authority in Skowronek’s Political Time Framework

Figure 2.3

Trump’s Potential Placement in "Political Time"

Table 5.1

Post-Election Rallies, December 2016

Table 5.2

Post-Inaugural Rallies, 2017

Table 6.1

Executive Orders by Policy Area, 2017-2018

Table 6.2

Executive Memoranda by Policy Area, 2017-2018

Figure 7.1

The Perils of Trump’s Presidency


What People are Saying About This

Clemson University Jeffrey Peake

Scholars will try to make sense of President Trump for decades to come. Marrying populist theory with well-established theories of the American Presidency, Richard Conley’s keen analysis and insights help us make sense of Trump, America’s most successful populist. The work is essential reading for students of the presidency.

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