Politics as Performance: will the American fascination with 'Trump style' survive the 2018 midterms?

Hosted by LSE Department of Government and the US Centre

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, United Kingdom


Erik Bucy

Erik Bucy

David Smith

David Smith


Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey

Mainstream political discourse relies on a foundation of decorum and civility—or at least it used to. The rise of populism in Europe and Trumpism in America suggests that there are sizeable constituencies for political appeals that feature stark language and blunt delivery—and candidates who can channel voter anger and need for blame. For all his faults, Donald Trump remains as popular among his core base of supporters as ever. Erik Bucy will review focus group, survey, and Twitter data to assess the resonance of Trump’s communication style with voters and to gain insights into how his mélange of nonverbal theatrics and verbal directness bonds supporters while at the same time alienating critics. He will discuss how Trump’s performances relate to those of recent presidential candidates, including not just Hillary Clinton in 2016 but Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012—and on how ‘Trump Style’ is resonating among voters in the 2018 congressional elections. 

Erik Bucy is a Visiting Senior Fellow in the Department of Government at the LSE (June to December 2018) and the Marshall and Sharleen Formby Regents Professor of Strategic Communication in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University.

David Smith is a British Academic Visiting Fellow and Senior Lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey is Professor in Political Science in the LSE Department of Government.

The Department of Government (@LSEGovernment) is home to some of the most internationally respected experts in politics and government; producing influential research that has a global impact on policy, and delivering world-class teaching to our students.

The LSE's United States Centre (@LSE_US) is a hub for global expertise, analysis and commentary on America. Our mission is to promote policy-relevant and internationally-oriented scholarship to meet the growing demand for fresh analysis and critical debate on the United States.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEUSMidterms


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