Institutional Scholarship

Applying Moral Politics Theory to the 2018 Midterms

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dc.contributor.advisor Fernald, Theodore B. Gutierrez-Prado, Erick 2019-03-07T19:52:28Z 2019-03-07T19:52:28Z 2019
dc.description.abstract This paper will begin with an abbreviated overview of the history of political polarization in the 1900s. First, it will suggest that polarization is in fact a real phenomenon by citing the D-NOMINATE method of measuring polarization among political elites. It will then go forward and suggest that the American public are living in a time of increased partisanship, that more or less corresponds with an ongoing "culture war" in some segments of American society, and an ongoing depopulation and political deemphasizing of the importance of the political center. The paper then suggests Lakoff's conceptual metaphor theory, and more particularly Lakoff's extension Moral Politics Theory as a way to look at modern political polarization. Lakoff's "strict father" and "nurturant parent" moralities arise, and both moralities construct a model citizen and different demons to represent the ideal and nonideal type of people. This paper then uses the campaign speeches of Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee to exemplify how these politicians' used morality and identity-building to create ingroups and outgroups consistent with Moral Politics Theory. Next, the paper than focuses in on discourse regarding immigration, and notes how the "commonsensical" arguments of partisans on both the right and the left are moral, and that those morals are also consistent with Lakoff's "nurturant parent" and "strict father" models. Lastly, the paper suggests further research to compensate based on some anomalous findings that Lakoff's theory does not account for. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Swarthmore College. Dept. of Linguistics en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. It may only be used for non-commercial, research, and educational purposes. All other uses are restricted.
dc.title Applying Moral Politics Theory to the 2018 Midterms en_US
dc.rights.access No restrictions en_US

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