“Trump is a character of excess, we are used to his threatening logorrhea”

In politics across the Atlantic, a good candidate must master the art of storytelling, the ability to tell in a few stories carefully chosen to seduce voters. In short, what is called in the original version the storytelling. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the White House, explained to CNN the reasons he was crisscrossing the country by train:

“I look out the window and see the lights on so I wonder what’s going on around the dining table right now? What are people thinking about? What are their real concerns? “

A way of highlighting its working-class roots, its proximity to people and thus attracting the voices necessary to settle in the Oval office in January.

This pattern, as classic as it is known, has experienced several upheavals with the arrival on the front of the stage of Donald Trump. Verbal violence, disinformation or even insults… The frontal attack has established itself as a weapon of communication.

And in a country yet known for its moralism, it seems that it has a pass, where the slightest misstep by its rivals is accompanied by an outcry. “We accept more easily the excess of someone perceived as totally different, than the small gap of the one who looks like us”, summarizes Marlène Dulaurans, lecturer in information and communication sciences at the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne.

Why does “storytelling” work so well in political communication in the United States?

Marlène Dulaurans: In the United States, the art of rhetoric is cultivated very early on, from school. Storytelling is an exercise that Americans have faced from their earliest childhood. This explains why narrative codes are an integral part of their culture and they are taken to extremes in American politics.

The arrival of new technologies has made it possible to renew this political narrative: they have offered an opportunity for candidates and elected officials to put themselves on the stage, to tell themselves differently, to get out of the very classic protocol to which we were used until now. so.

How did Donald Trump upset the codes of political communication across the Atlantic?

It is advisable to put things in perspective: it is Barack Obama who was the first world leader to open a Twitter account, to have the largest number of followers, to set up the signature “BO” for his personal messages or yet to initiate virtual conferences around the hashtag “ask Obama”… Finally, to mobilize thanks to technological tools.

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