Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2023

Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Joe Bafumi

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Fraser

Third Advisor

Dr. Jaimalene Hough


This thesis focuses on how Populism and Democracy remain constantly opposing forces in 21st century United States domestic politics. A focal point of populist sentiment, rhetoric and narrative dissemination is the Trumpian MAGA wing of the American right. This thesis seeks to address scholarly analysis of Donald Trump’s populist MAGA movement in the context of the 2022 Midterm election, highlight populist narratives of the movement through Truth Social posts and the negative effects upon voters in states with rhetorical focus from MAGA election integrity narratives. This thesis was done through a 3 month phenomenological study with the object of research being the phenomena of Trumpian narratives collected and observed on the former president’s social media platform, Truth Social. In Chapter 1, populist sentiments and traits are explored through scholarly literature and commentary. Chapter 2 proceeds to explore populism in action by reviewing and describing the former president’s new social media. Chapter 3 takes narratives driven by Trump on Truth Social, such as election integrity narratives in 5 key battle ground states, to explore the threat of populist rhetoric to democracy. All of this is done with the underlying danger and threat of populist language and rhetoric to bring harm to institutions in the United States. The conclusion being that MAGA conservative rhetoric may propel political and social disruption within the United States through lenses of fear among and toward the Trumpian base. This turbulence is expected to have damaging effects on voters access to and trust of the electoral system of the United States.

Original Citation

Brooks, Daniel. Democracy in 2022: Trump’s Rhetoric, Truth Social and Election Integrity Platforms.