According to supporters and opponents alike, Donald Trump has been an unconventional candidate and president. In this article, I evaluate the relationship between Trump’s unconventional behavior and the requirements of civility. I provide a definition of civility, and I explain why it makes sense to relate Trump’s actions to civil norms. I then discuss how civility is enacted, I examine criticisms of civility’s triviality, and I explore the ways in which civility may repress dissent and maintain hierarchy. Although I consider the degree to which Trump’s actions are strategic, I ultimately argue that Trump’s incivilities should be understood as an effort to initiate a revolution in manners. In this regard, Trump’s behavior is not unprecedented. He is participating in a longstanding American tradition of determining standards of appropriate conduct through political conflict.
- American politics
- Donald Trump
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)