Trump and Wrestling Rhetoric

by David Beard, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, University of Minnesota Duluth, and John Heppen, Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin River Falls

[unpublished notes from a recent project]

We’ve been puzzling through the relationship between rhetoric and politics.  Everyone is.  Works like “How Professional Wrestling Explains American Politics (Especially Donald Trump)” by Oliver Willis make broad attempts to describe American politics in terms of “faces” and “heels,” using the overarching narrative, the soap operatic structure of the wrestling match as an analogy for American political life. Heather Bandenburg tells us that “wrestling and politics both rely on over the top characters to clamour for popularity in outrageous PR stunts.”  Everyone wants to understand politics, now, in terms of wrestling.

I’m curious, at the moment, about Trump’s relationship to audiences in wrestling, because I think that his relationship to the WWE audience can help explain his relationship to his base.

So I’m surprised to read that he was, at one point, a heel…


PWT ISSUE #1300 - APRIL 20, 2013

This clipping, from Professional Wrestling Torch, will feed into our research.

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