Leadership and Democratic Rhetoric

John Kane and Patapan Haig

in The Democratic Leader

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199650477
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739071 | DOI:
Leadership and Democratic Rhetoric

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Democratic leaders cannot rule through fear, but only by gaining popular consent. If this seems like a weakness from an authoritarian perspective, it is a source of great and resilient strength once consent is given. Modern liberal democracies make leaders institutionally secure even while making their incumbency uncomfortable by requiring a daily public accounting regarding the legitimacy of their actions and policies. The fact that consent can never be taken for granted but must be perpetually renewed through persuasive speech gives rhetoric a peculiarly important place in democracies. How can, or should, the democratic leader speak to, or persuade the people? The chapter explores the character of democratic rhetoric and persuasion and the particularly difficult issue that ‘handling the media’ presents for leaders.

Keywords: rhetoric; consent; persuasion; media

Chapter.  9057 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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