Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Sylvia González-Gorman

Second Advisor

Nicholas Keirsey

Third Advisor

Mi-son Kim


The riot at the United States Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump shocked the American political system and represented contemporary politics’ shift toward more reactionary, populist politics. Attempts to explain the events of January 6th, 2021, have focused on the role of conspiracy theories, white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and the violation of norms. This thesis argues that January 6th can be explained by a case study of narrative and the style of discourse. More specifically, I conducted a qualitative narrative analysis of Trump’s election fraud narrative in the 2020 election by completing a close reading of his campaign speeches, remarks, and other public appearances and applying the conventions of melodramatic political discourse. I contend that a narrative, such as the one deployed by Trump in the 2020 election and the lead-up to January 6th, is not the exception but represents a melodramatic and paranoid style of American politics.


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