Trump

NULab Core Faculty Member Nick Beauchamp has created plotmaps of the inau­gural addresses of the past four U.S. presidents, including the recent address by President Trump. This last address, Beauchamp notes, proved particularly challenging:

Trump’s speech is dif­fi­cult to plot, because gen­er­ally I omit generic words, which for pres­i­den­tial speeches usu­ally includes “America.” But for Trump, this term was cen­tral, and if plotted would dom­i­nate every­thing else. So we see here the words that circle around, underlie, and per­haps define what he means by “America” and great­ness. It begins with returning power to the citizens—picking up on that term from Bush’s speech and Obama’s farewell address—then turns to dreams of great­ness and bringing jobs home, and then to his themes of pro­tec­tion and God. So what does “make America great again” seem to mean? Power, jobs, dreams, pro­tec­tion, and God. What’s less evi­dent here is the oppo­si­tional nature of the speech; while Reagan or Clinton began with what they were opposed to or with what was changing, Trump touched on a myriad dis­joint ene­mies (Wash­ington, for­eign powers, “rad­ical Islamic ter­rorism”), that were men­tioned only one time each, and thus are not picked up in simple word-​​counting methods like those here. Whose jobs, dreams, power, and cit­i­zen­ship are being pro­tected, and against what, remains ambiguous here.

Read the the entire article and see the rest of the visualizations at news@Northeastern.