Leadership, Statesmanship and Tyranny: The Character and Rhetoric of Trump
Our contributors interpret contemporary politics through the works of the greatest political thinkers. This introduction lays out the philosophical disputes which underlie varying interpretations of Trump, with a focus on what counts as wholesome or pernicious leadership. Statesmanship is a political leader’s successfully handling matters of government, while tyranny occurs when a leader privileges his personal or factional interest over the common good. The essays can be grouped under two broad categories: Trump’s character and rhetoric and how these relate to democratic institutions. Rhetoric is understood very broadly, as referring to his comportment and political style, which shape contemporary political discourse as much as his ideology, speech, or political views. Three possible interpretations of Trump emerge: a selfish demagogue who seeks political power for personal advantage, a skillful politician who utilizes rhetoric in defense of his country, and a demagogue who manipulates the masses in order to impose his ideological agenda.