Rhetorical Leadership

Dr. Patricia Roberts-Miller, author of "Demagoguery and Democracy," gives her definition of demagoguery, explains how and why it works, and gives us some institutional and personal tools we can use to defend democracy. Recorded February 1, 2021.

Show Notes

00:00 Defining demagoguery
04:00 Why Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt were not demagogues
10:30 Case Study: Earl Warren's demagogic argument about Japanese Internment
12:20 Threat perception and demagoguery/ "The Flight 93 Election"
14:40 Signs and evidence of threats
15:45 Demagoguery in the gay marriage debate
17:30 Demagoguery as "algae in a pond" allegory
18:30 How Trump out-competed other demagogues
21:20 Trump as a large Salomon Asch experiment on the nation
23:30 How dishonest media give demagogues the cover to flip
24:45 Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio as a case study in demagogue/demagogic culture
29:30 How media revolutions coincide with the rise of demagogues
30:45 The solution: we have to stop buying demagoguery
31:50 What inspired this book
33:00 Lesser and greater demagogues
34:10 In-group policing as a parry against demagogues (McCarthyism/Birchers)
36:10 The extremism of the current GOP base and the "ends justify any means" argument
37:20 The need for leadership and a reckoning to defeat demagoguery
39:30 Why "suspending democratic norms" is a one-way street
40:35 Rejecting "our" demagogues
42:15 Institutional remedies for demagoguery
43:20 Two-party systems and us/them rhetoric
44:45 How demagogues create us/them in multi-party systems
45:15 Gerrymandering, safe seats, and partisan extremism
46:05 What can WE do?
46:15 1. Make demagoguery less profitable/successful
46:52 2. Not argue with those who repeat demagoguery, but engage with them
49:18 3. Argue with those who repeat demagoguery, but stick to the issue at hand
50:25 4. Actively support democratic deliberation
51:00 Don't take your democratic freedoms for granted
52:19 Never-Trump Republicans and cross-party coalitions for democratic norms
56:00 Democracy is fragile and needs our commitment
56:45 Remembering the lessons of WWII and demagoguery
1:00:00 "Purifying" our public sphere is not a solution
1:00:50 Creating a culture "parry" for the thrust of demagoguery
1:01:48 How important should politics be in our lives?
1:03:20 Paul Woodruff's democratic values of "harmony" and "reverence"
1:04:30 Learning to get along

What is Rhetorical Leadership?

Join Dr. David Isaksen and his guests from academia, communications consulting, and politics in discussions about what it means to lead people by persuasion rather than by force/rank/bargaining.