Make America Simple Again: The Anti-Political Language of Donald Trump During the US 2016 Presidential Primary Campaign

Orly Kayam, Israel, ID CLEaR2016-375;        American businessman and media personality Donald J. Trump became the leading candidate and eventually won the Republican party presidential nomination in 2016. A deep analysis of Trump’s readability, language structure and rhetorical devices, reveals that Trump differentiates himself significantly from all other candidates in terms of language simplicity and colloquial discourse: The results showed that only a fourth to fifth grade level of education is required to understand Donald Trump’s language, while the average score of all the other candidates was of a ninth grade level. The research also concluded that Trump’s sentences and words are significantly shorter and less complex than any other candidate. In terms of rhetorical devices, Trump fulfills the ultimate “anti-politically speaking” strategy: he is dedicated to unfiltered speech, saying whatever is on his mind, including brutal slanders against his opponents; he keeps praising himself and his achievements, using a lot of first person pronouns; he speaks in a colloquial register; and finally, his messages are simple, repetitive and clear, in a way that resembles advertising and marketing language.

Keywords: Donald Trump, rhetoric, politics, language, readability, grade level, American politics