Senior Project Advisor
lies, dishonesty, legitimacy, democracy, rhetoric
Donald Trump told a record number of lies while in office, and ended his term with an unprecedent attack on democracy carried out by his supporters. Presidential lying has a long history in the United States, and significant research has been done on intention, lie typology, and outcomes. Trump’s lies go beyond the existing literature, threatening norms of democracy and bordering on authoritarian behavior. My research examines the power of presidential rhetoric by analyzing a dataset of fact-checked tweets, with the intention of better understanding if and how Trump’s dishonesty violates democratic norms and its potential implications for political violence. I find that this presidential lying falls outside of known typologies, with the unprecedented effect of undermining core democratic institutions and threatening the legitimacy of the American government. Trump uses anti-democratic call-to-action rhetoric that challenges the widely accepted norms of democracy, widening the scope of acceptable presidential behavior and eroding public trust in government.
Sceats, Sophie, "A Legacy of Lies: Examining Donald Trump’s Record-Breaking Dishonesty" (2021). WWU Honors Program Senior Projects. 486.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Presidents--America; Mythomania; Democracy--United States; Legitimacy of governments--Washington, D.C.; United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.)
Subjects - Names (LCNAF)
Trump, Donald, 1946-
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.