The Art of the Deal, The Arts of Democracy: Trump, Dewey, and Democracy

Keywords: Political Theory


Donald Trump's politics has been variously described as "neoliberal," "nationalist," "authoritarian," "populist," and even "fascist," and all these descriptors are appropriate in some respects.   In this article, I explore the linkages between Trump, neoliberalism, and fascism through what may seem an unlikely aspect of his politics, that is, his artistry as a candidate and now the president.   In elevating deal-making to an art form, Trump is not unique.   Fascist leaders have long fancied themselves as artists and regarded politics as an art form.   I argue that Trump's "art of the deal" materializes and normalizes the aesthetics of neoliberal capitalism; it mirrors the superficial chaos and structural inequalities of the global neoliberalism. To illustrate my argument, I consider how Trump deals in buildings, crowds, and walls.   I conclude that Trump's presidency raises the question whether Deweyan arts of democracy can still triumph over the art of the deal.

Author Biography

Nancy Sue Love, Appalachian State University

Dr. Nancy Love is Professor of Political Science and Humanities Council Coordinator at Appalachian State University. Her teaching and research emphasize political theory, especially the relationships between art, culture, and politics. Most recently, she is the author of Trendy Fascism: White Power Music and the Future of Democracy (2016) and the co-editor (with Mark Mattern) of Studying Politics Today: Critical Approaches to Political Science (2014) and Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics (2013). 


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