The narrative that wasn’t: what passes for discourse in the age of Trump

Anderson, Emily R
Media, Culture & Society

This article considers political discourse and the role it played in the 2016 US presidential election while paying particular attention to its construction of narrative. Foucault’s understanding of discourse and power frames the argument that Donald Trump successfully abandoned political narratives. Instead, he often used idiosyncratic language, instances in which the surface of a statement outshines its content. These normally appear in Trump’s tweets and culminate in his invective against the ‘fake news’ media. In order to respond to Trump, his interlocutors must posit a premise and then refute it; in even granting that there is a premise, one must take Trump on his own terms. Trump thus disrupts the direction of traditional discursive power.