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#TRUMPEFFECTS: CREATING RHETORICAL SPACES FOR LATINX POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT1 Stephany Slaughter Alma College “‘They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists’ @realDonaldTrump Mexicans are not criminals and Muslims are not terrorists” @Skyy hart “I Strongly believe that @realDonaldTrump owes an apology to all Mexicans for his xenophobic comments and to all Americans for fooling them” Vicente Fox Quesada @VicenteFoxQue2 “1% stuff that could maybe be passed as actual content; 99% fear mongering and empty rhetoric.” bellissimosonofamama @danialsand oval3 On June 16, 2015, reality show star and real estate mogul Donald Trump garnered media attention from multiple outlets as he descended via Trump Tower escalator to a backdrop of American flags to make his presidential candidacy announcement from behind a lectern with the sign, “Trump” and the slogan “Make America Great Again!” This first speech set the tone for Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, Islamaphobic, masculinist rhetoric woven into a criminality narrative that has been widely circulated, most often with a focus on the first few lines: When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. [points to audience] They’re not sending you [points to audience]. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably— probably— from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening . And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.4 C  2016 Southeastern Council on Latin American Studies and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. DOI: 10.1111/tla.12095 541 The Latin Americanist, December 2016 This moment begins by highlighting a discourse that relies on othering. Trump repeats “They” (in the first segment clearly identified as Mexicans ) as different from the “us” that includes the “you” of the audience, visually punctuated in his delivery as he combines the words “They’re not sending you” while pointing to the audience. He goes on to mark these “others” through discourses of criminality and toxic masculinity: they are criminals who bring drugs and crime (not you or people like you), and they are rapists (not you or people like you). They are rapists– the fear this statement engenders left unsaid, hanging in the air like a cartoon speech bubble resting on decades of narratives casting men of color (they) as sexual threats to (our) white women (us). They threaten us. Trump draws on discourses that have long existed that posit certain (generally non-white) men as sexual threats to (our) society, leaving the audience to imagine the idealized victim (white women, as the narrative goes, which generally leaves out non-white women and all men). For the year span between announcing his candidacy and accepting the party nomination, Donald Trump continued to rhetorically reinforce a particular narrative of immigrants that interweaves ethnicity, gender/sexuality, and class with othering discourses of non-citizenship, illegality, and threat. The “Latino threat” narrative (Chávez)5 that Trump espouses and intertwines with an anti-Muslim Islamaphobic narrative certainly did not begin with the Trump campaign—a strategy with deep roots in nativist discourses (Higham, Perea); nor did his appeal to fear—a strategy long exploited by the Republican party (Bennett, Gonzales/Delgado). However, profiting from the pressures of 24-hour news seeking “click bait” to keep this discourse in the forefront of user/viewer (and voter) minds, Trump and his campaign have been able to advance these toxic rhetorics based on fear by taking full advantage of social media and the way they tend to promote affective rhetorical appeals driven by pathos over logos. While any online engagement with Trump, be it to support or to criticize, helps his cause, there are...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1557-203X
Print ISSN
1557-2021
Pages
pp. 541-575
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-25
Open Access
No
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