Los Angeles Times

Why American voters were primed for a president who talks like Trump

When in the grips of oratorical passion, President Barack Obama liked to paraphrase the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about the "long arc of history" bending toward justice.

But when it comes to the oratory of American politicians, history's long arc is bending away from such lofty rhetorical flourishes. New research finds that the punch-and-jab style of President Donald Trump's public speech - pugnaciously declarative, larded with personal pronouns, and light on the kinds of phrases that soften a claim or elevate an idea - appears to be just where presidential discourse is headed.

The sweeping linguistic analysis of American leaders suggests far from being an aberration, Trump's style of communication - called "intuitive" because it closely resembles ordinary conversational speech - is the most recent exemplar of a trend that goes back to the early 1900s.

For more than a century,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times6 min read
Adieu, Le Grand K: The Kilogram To Be Redefined For The First Time In 130 Years
In a subterranean vault in a suburb of Paris lies a small, rarely seen metal cylinder known as Le Grand K. For 130 years, this golf-ball-sized hunk of 90% platinum and 10% iridium has served as the international prototype kilogram. That means it was
Los Angeles Times4 min readPolitics
In Key Swing-state Rally, Joe Biden Condemns Trump As A 'Divider'
WASHINGTON - Joe Biden, holding the first large-scale rally of his 2020 presidential campaign, Saturday issued a broad call for national unity, denounced President Donald Trump as the "divider in chief" and plunged into a challenging new phase of com
Los Angeles Times4 min read
Mick Cronin Isn't A Fan Of Tough Talk, But He Wants UCLA To Be Tough
LOS ANGELES - The word most often used to describe Mick Cronin's teams is not one his players will hear him use. "I've never discussed being tougher," Cronin said Friday in his first meeting with reporters since being hired as UCLA's basketball coach