The Ideological Rhetoric of the Trump Platform and Edmund Burke’s Theory of a Generational Compact

  • Douglas Jarvis


Barack Obama’s rhetoric of “CHANGE” proposed a new America that was inclusive in its emphasis on identity politics driven reform, rather than customary reverence toward national tradition. Donald Trump’s charisma is largely explained as a populist reaction against that specific assertion of America’s identity. It is the absence of a viable classical conservative ethos in contemporary politics that has helped contribute toward the increased presence of demagogic practices across the ideological spectrum. Rather than viewing itself in terms of an “alt-right vs. social justice warrior” dichotomy, conservatism in the Trump era needs to return to the foundational ethos of a generational compact, as defined by Burke. For Burke, a political community is cemented by the contract of societal care existing between generations of the past, present and future. The main challenge for contemporary conservatism is to re-envision a national compact that provides both stability and accountability to a united commonwealth.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Jarvis
    • 1
  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityOrilliaCanada

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