Trump, Populism and the Merchant Imaginary

Item type
Journal Article
Degree name
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Springer Nature Publishing AG

This article explores the social ontological basis of Trumpism as a form of populism, historically defined as government by personal rule. For many commentators, the key feature of Trump’s presidency is its fundamental irrationality. The President has variously described as ‘dumb’, ‘greedy’, ‘psychotic’, a ‘narcissist’ in the grandiose mode, and an ‘egotist’ unfit for public office. This article does not aim to dissent from these kinds of conclusions but suggests that they partake more of the statement of effects or consequences rather than causes. Indeed, if they are considered as causes they lead to confusion, a kind of ‘attention-deficit disorder’ (which, ironically, some accuse the tweeting President of being a sufferer). Rather this paper suggests that a more systematic examination of the President’s persona reveals it as emerging from a conflation of the discourse of the American family and a merchant imaginary.

Palgrave Communications, 4(1), 130.
Rights statement
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit