A deep dive into President Trump’s doublespeak and other rhetorical tricks

A deep dive into President Trump’s doublespeak and other rhetorical tricks

Ad populum — appealing to the wisdom of the crowd — is Trump’s “many people are saying” strategy for framing his lies. He has tried to convince the nation “that the corrupt establishment used political correctness to hide its agenda, but that he, speaking for the wise crowd, saw through the corruption and the politically correct doublespeak,” Mercieca writes. …

Trump is a master of ad baculum — threats of force or intimidation. Debating Hillary Clinton, he brought out the big stick, as Mercieca reminds us: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.” When Clinton responded that “it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” he interrupted her to sneer, “Because you would be in jail!” Someday we will look back on the videos of Trump leading crowds in chants of “Lock her up!” and wonder how we fell so far. …

Mercieca defines Trump’s use of ad hominem personal attacks and his “America First” jingoism, along with the aforementioned rhetorical devices, as part of a larger tactic, in which he draws his audience into a black hole of conspiracy theories. You know it when you hear it from Trump: “believe me,” “this is so true,” “can you believe it?,” “what’s going on here?,” “there’s a lot going on,” “you never hear this” and the ever-popular “nobody even knows about it.”

By  Tim Weiner, The Washington Post

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