If you’re trying to make sense of the Donald Trump presidency and all that comes with it, you’re probably not alone.
Jonathan Rose, an associate professor at Queen’s University, is trying to provide context and insight in a three-part series in one of his courses.
He’s called it: “What’s going on? Explaining Donald Trump.”
Rose says the course should help students and members of the public understand the world around them.
According to Rose, just about everything over the last several years is up for discussion, like Trump’s use of social media to announce policies and staff changes.
“He’s fired his attorney general through Twitter,” Rose said, citing an example. “It is a significant and important medium.”
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Rose says it’s vitally important for Canadians to understand what is going on south of the border.
“Canada just negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States,” Rose said. “We are the largest trading partner with the United States; our economic future is intimately tied with the United States.”
Trump-style populism, Rose added, is also finding its way into Canada.
“Doug Ford’s brand of populism is similar but very different in a number of respects, so what that broader movement of populism means.”
Trumps’s rhetoric, Rose said, has drastically changed political discourse. “We’re seeing a degree of hyper-partisanship the likes of which we have never seen before,” he said, “and now the extreme has become normalized.”
Rose says it’s tough to anticipate the full impact of Trumps’s political career, but it will provide ample material for debate.
“The course will unpack what that means for political discourse, what that means to be a citizen,” Rose said. “Not just a citizen in the United States, but to be a citizen in liberal democracies.”
The first installment of the Trump course ran Monday. The second installment comes less than 24 hours after Trump addresses the nation on Tuesday night, making his case for the U.S. government shutdown and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Rose says he will be paying close attention to the Tuesday address to see how he will take this incredibly divisive issue and use it as a rallying point.