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Has Trump transformed what it means to be Presidential? Show more Show less
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What makes a good President? Is it pragmatism and vision, or, something else entirely? Trump presents himself as a political outsider: his disregard for political correctness is what attracted many of his supporters. Yet, his critics see his unruly behaviour as a weakness; that it is unbecoming for a President. Has Trump changed what it means to be Presidential? The Merriam-Webster defines “presidential” as: “of, relating to, or befitting a president or a president’s authority”. But, is that what Trump means, and his supporters, refer to?

The meaning of presidential has been evolving for decades Show more Show less

The way we communicate has changed drastically in recent years. Leaders now promote their messages through more far-reaching methods. Trump is the latest in a long list of presidents who are seeing the benefits of social media.
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Trump is not the first to change the rules

As technology has changed, so has leadership and the ways presidential candidates reach out to voters and make themselves more approachable.
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The Argument

Bill Clinton’s saxophone performance on the Arsenio Hall Show, a late night show, in the early 1990s was originally ranked among the “7 most unpresidential moments” according to the Daily Dot. Obama’s appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman show as president also raised eyebrows. It was also Obama who first made use of Facebook and Twitter to expand his audience and reach out to voters. The meaning of presidential has evolved other the last decades. Presidents and candidates now struggle to find a balance between showing a more human and engaging side and a more serious, policy focused approach. Trump has not been the first to use social media or make himself more approachable to the US public. And this evolution is likely to continue post Trump, as more and more voters turn to social media and the internet for their news.

Counter arguments

No president has gone as far as Trump. Tweeting constantly and retweeting content of dubious sources without verifying it goes beyond reaching out to his base and other voters. This unpresidential behaviour goes beyond being innovative. A lot of his information is misleading or untruthful, and his constant attacks to the press go against American values of democracy.

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

This page was last edited on Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:12 UTC