Hunter, Rik; Strickler, Jeremy
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
When Donald J. Trump announced he was running for president of the United States, the country was thrown into division. He was an abnormality as a presidential candidate and a rhetorical oddity since so many of his messages were ones of ignorance and bigotry rather than understanding and inclusion, the expected rhetoric of a president. Through a semiotic analysis, this study aims to understand who the people were that supported Trump, why his rhetoric appealed to them, the ways in which Trump talked about America and its people, and how his supporters interpreted his language. Semiotics is the study of signs and their meaning and aids in the interpretation of not only what Trump says but how and why his supporters interpret his words and messages the way they do. This research focused on understanding who Trump and his supporters were in addition to thematical studies of language using his language around America first policies, race, and the military from the moment Trump announced he was running for president until the end of his term. My research suggests his supporters included not only white supremacist groups and white supporters but also more unexpected voters from any background who perceived Trump as someone who would make their lives better in unconventional ways. In the end, his ambiguous and divisive language left citizens of the United States to vote for a more rhetorically conventional president, and only time will tell if Americans decide they want another untraditional president in the future.
B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Trump, Donald, 1946--
[i]; 58 leaves
Gilmore, Lauren, "Building a (great) wall: a semiotic analysis of the rhetoric of President Donald J. Trump" (2021). Honors Theses.