It’s Just a Jump to the Right: The Tea Party’s Influence on Conservative Discourse

Richard DeShay Elliott


This study analyzes the correlation of speeches by members of Congress who were supported by the Tea Party political movement with changes in mainstream conservative political discourse. The rhetoric of these politicians after the Tea Party’s ascendance in the 2010 congressional elections was compared to the rhetoric used by John McCain, the Republican nominee in 2008, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee in 2016 and current President, to understand the correlation with other changes in conservative discourse. I studied this discourse shift using speech analysis to code for instances of negative discourse and establish a comparison between these election years while also noting rhetorical shifts evident among mainstream conservative politicians.


Political rhetoric, Tea Party, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Speech analysis

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