The post-election period of the 2020 presidential campaign is historic not only for the culmination of tensions in the January 6, 2021 storming of the US capitol, but also in the very persistence of campaigning after the election was over. Historically, political campaigns have had only four phases: pre-primary, primary, convention, and general election. In 2020, there was a distinct and active post-election campaign in which President Donald Trump vigorously challenged the election, calling for recounts, court challenges amid charges of voter fraud and irregularities. Speeches, rallies, fundraising and advertising continued weeks past the election. For the first time modern electoral history, there was an active, dramatic and decisive post-election phase of the 2020 presidential campaign.
This volume explores political communication during the post-election phase from election day until the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden. Chapters address political branding, the nature of argumentation in the era of partisanship, the themes and issues of media coverage, examination of Trump’s January 6th address in terms of inciting an insurrection or free speech, Trump’s discursive strategy, political advertising and political cartoons during this period concluding with an examination of the post-election lawsuits.
Robert E. Denton, Jr. holds the W. Thomas Rice Chair in the Pamplin College of Business and is professor and director of the School of Communication at Virginia Tech. Denton is the author, coauthor, or editor of 30 books, several in multiple editions, on the presidency and political campaigns. His most recent volumes are The 2020 Presidential Campaign: A Communications Perspective and Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices, 9th Edition (coauthored with Judith Trent and Robert Friendenberg).
1. Political Branding in a Digital Age: The Role of Design and Image-Based Messaging in the Strategies, Outcomes, and Consequences of the 2020 Post-Election Presidential Campaign, Lisa Burns and Courtney Marchese
2. Argumentation in an era of Ascending Partisanship, Benjamin Voth
3. Media Coverage and the Post-Election of 2020, Robert E. Denton, Jr.
4. Trump’s Address to Supporters on January 6, 2021: Inciting Insurrection or Free Speech?, W. Wat Hopkins
5. Rethinking the Carnivalesque: Trump’s Co-Opting of a Counter-Hegemonic, Counter-Discursive Strategy, Theodore Sheckels
6. Political Advertising in the 2020 Post-Election Presidential Campaign, John Tedescoand Scott Dunn
7. Political Cartoons during the 2020 Post-Election Phase, Natalia Mielczarek
8. Litigating Victory: An Analysis of 2020 Post-Election Lawsuits, Cayce Myers
This provocative and timely volume encourages readers to consider a variety of perspectives on the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath. This book is sure to foster debate and discussion about what happened in the aftermath of the election and what we as a nation do next as a result.
The Trump-to-Biden interregnum from Nov. 3, 2020 to Jan. 20, 2021 was perhaps the most dramatic and dangerous transition period since the Civil War. We need to understand exactly what happened. Bob Denton makes a significant, lasting contribution to our understanding in this careful analysis.