Posted by on October 27, 2016

What Trump’s smash-it-all message tells us about presidential campaigns.

Before we join the refrain that the candidacy of Donald J. Trump in this presidential election is unprecedented, we should pause and remember that what we call the political order of “message” has been in the “anti-” mode for some time. Significant swatches of the American electorate seek a candidate without a “message”—that is, in our view, one with an “anti-message” message that in the public’s receptive imaginary figuratively places a candidate outside politics-as-usual. Secretary Clinton has positioned herself just within the orbit of politics, running as would a successful first-term incumbent, though far from the proverbial Garden of Roses. Mr. Trump, by contrast, comes to us from the pages of the Forbes richest list as the unlikely but determined smash-it-all populist of disgruntlement.

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