Volume 20, Issue 6
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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This research applies Foucault’s framework of or “truth-telling” to analyze the twelve Republican Party’s Presidential debates in 2015–2016, culminating in the nomination of Donald Trump as the party’s Presidential candidate. Using discourse and conversation analytical methods, it explores how the three main debate competitors constructed three different narratives of truth: Donald Trump’s “parrhesiastic truth;” Marco Rubio’s “orthodox truth;” and Ted Cruz’s “ironic truth” produced by combining features of the former two. Key findings of this research are that different narratives of truth compete during political elections, and that their public resonance, or lack thereof, is historically contingent, based on shifting public attitudes towards institutional power. Politicians such as Ted Cruz who attempt to emulate risk fracturing their personal and political voices, resulting in incoherence and silence on the public stage.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): parrhesia; political language; political truth; presidential debates
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