This essay analyzes the 1964 and 1968 Republican campaigns as a case study in the rhetoric of complicit civility, a strategy of elite cooperation in which one rhetor wields a subtle rhetoric of exclusion while other rhetors, who recognize the undemocratic aspects of that rhetoric but also its potential electoral appeal, challenge the rhetor but not the rhetoric, instead shifting the political argument to other grounds. This combination endorses antidemocratic rhetoric while normalizing it as a routine part of democratic political processes. As a strategy practiced by elites, complicit civility entrenches extant hierarchies and authorizes exclusion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics