top of page


The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump 

"It deserves a place alongside George Orwell’s 'Politics and the English Language'. . . . one of the most important political books of this perilous summer."—Tim Weiner


"Highly Recommended"—Jack Shafer


"Must Read"—Paul Rosenberg







A demagogue—a leader of the people—could be a hero or a villain. What kind of demagogue is Donald Trump? He is both—a hero to his supporters and a villain to everyone else.


Demagogue for President tells the story of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and shows how Trump took advantage of pre-existing distrust, polarization, and frustration to attack America.


Within a crisis of public trust in which the very viability of democracy was at risk, Trump ran a campaign that was designed to increase distrust for government and traditional leadership. Within a crisis of polarization in which Americans believed that they had little common ground with their political opposition, did not share the same values, and that their opposition was an enemy of the state, Trump ran a campaign that was designed to increase polarization. Within a crisis of frustration in which Americans believed that government was the biggest issue facing the nation, that the nation was on the wrong track, and that anybody else would do a better job running the country than current leaders, Trump ran a campaign that was designed to increase frustration.


Trump used rhetoric as a weapon—as a “counterpunch”—and in so doing Trump attacked America’s public sphere and its democratic process. Demagogue for President gives Americans a vocabulary to use to understand Trump’s rhetorical strategies and explains why those strategies are dangerous for democratic stability.

It's a history of the public discourse of the 2016 election. Some of it will surprise you.

Published Excerpts:

Opinion: "The rhetorical genius of Donald Trump and the problem with labeling him a racist," Houston Chronicle.

"Authoritarian voters pushed Trump to victory. Can they do it again?," The Guardian.

"A Field Guide to Trump's Dangerous Rhetoric," The Conversation.

"The secret of his success: Donald Trump's six weird tricks for authoritarian rule," Salon.

Request a review copy


High Resolution Cover Image.

Exam copy availability

AAP PROSE Award Gold Winner

WINNER 2021 PROSE Award. 

Excellence in Social Sciences: Government & Politics

WINNER 2020 Foreword Indies.

Bronze in Political and Social Sciences

Book Requests
bottom of page