Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
Director, Aggie Agora
The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations: Establishing the Obama Presidency (Texas A&M University Press, 2014). What does it do to us and to our democracy that we make heroes out of political leaders like Barack Obama? How does our turning leaders into heroes affect a president's ability to lead? This edited volume addresses those questions, and more.
Founding Fictions (University of Alabama Press, 2010). How did the American founders imagine that the people would participate in a government based upon a will of the people? Why do Americans call their government a democracy when the founders thought that they had formed a republic? Does that difference matter? Why did Jacksonians turn citizens into partisans?
In progress: Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Brilliance of Donald Trump (under contract with Texas A&M University Press). How did Trump take advantage of pre-existing distrust, polarization, and frustration to win the presidency? I analyze his campaign rhetoric to demonstrate how he consistently used ad hominem, ad baculum, ad populum, paralipsis, refication, and American exceptionalism to move his followers from suspicion to separation to action.