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The President Is in: Public Opinion and the Presidential Use of Twitter
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Analyzing President Trump's Tweets (N = 30,386) with the first tweet starting from 4 May 2009, this article looks at the nature of his conversations with the public and the building of public support for his candidacy, till he assumed office on January 2017. Drawing theoretically on deliberative democracy and technological populism as performance, this study, among the earliest to use interpretative qualitative analysis, reveals the different themes in his discourse, rather than only highlight specific attributes of his tweets. Our analysis shows that Trump tweets frequently and casts himself as a political outsider who can alone save America. His racist and sexist language with his confrontational style leaves no room for deliberative discourse. His messages may be populist in character, but they are aversive and uncivil and lack normative attributes of deliberation that one would expect in the leader of a powerful nation, such as the United States. These characteristics have been present in his tweets even as a private citizen. This research makes a new contribution to our understanding of how Trump uses Twitter, starting from before he emerged as a contender for the presidential office, and the discourses that emanate from his use of Twitter to make broader inferences about the messages the public is receiving from Trump.
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