Ethics in Political Discourse in the Light of Critical Discourse Analysis: Trump vs. Biden

Document Type : Original Article


English Translation Studies Department, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Maintaining ethics has always been one of the crucial concerns of different scholars all around the globe. Considering the direct impact of political leaders’ attitudes on people’s minds, decision-making, and behavior, maintaining ethics by politicians in society is specifically emphasized. Moreover, the battleground has given way to the cultural, social, and ideological arena in recent years. In a global village, the attitude of leading politicians has extensive side effects, locally to globally, depending on how political players use their language’s power to influence people’s minds. This qualitative research investigated the maintenance of ethics by the two candidates of the US Presidential Election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, in the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020. The framework applied in this research was the Faircloughian three-dimensional critical discourse analysis (CDA) model. The results showed the failure of the two representatives of the Red and Blue parties to maintain ethics during the debate. More significantly, regarding ethical discursive structure, Joe Biden performed worse than Donald Trump in this chaotic debate. Although, Trump’s performance cannot be considered ethical. Moreover, this paper interpreted and explained the social effects of their speeches.


Main Subjects

Article Title [Persian]

اخلاق در گفتمان سیاسی در پرتو تحلیل انتقادی گفتمان مقایسه ترامپ و بایدن

Abstract [Persian]

رعایت اخلاقیات همواره یکی از دغدغه‌های اساسی پژوهشگران در سراسر جهان بوده‌ است. با توجه به تاثیر مستیم رفتار رهبران سیاسی بر ذهن، رفتار و تصیم‌گیری مردم، رعایت اخلاق توسط سیاستمدارن همچنان مورد تاکید بوده است . از سوی دیگر، در سالهای اخیر، صحنه‌های جنگ جای خود را به عرصه-های فرهنگی، اجتماعی و عقیدتی داده است، به همین دلیل، در این دهکده جهانی، رفتار سیاستمدارن و نحوه استفاده آنها از زبان برای تحت تاثیر قراردادن اذهان عمومی، چه در عرصه ملی و چه در عرصه بین‌المللی، اثرات زیادی را به دنبال دارد. این تحقیق کیفی میزان رعایت اخلاق توسط کاندیداهای ریاست جمهوری انتخابات امریکا، در مناظره اول ریاست جمهوری در تاریخ ۲۹ دسامبر سال ۲۰۲۰ را مورد بررسی قرار داده است. چارچوب نظری بکار رفته در این تحقیق مدل سه بعدی تحلیل گفتمان سیاسی فرکلاف است. نتایج نشان دهنده عدم رعایت اخلاق توسط نمایندگان دو حزب آبی و قرمز در این مناظره پرهرج و مرج است. اما به طور مشخص، از نظر ساختارهای گفتمانی بایدن بیشتر از ترامپ گفتار خلاف اخلاق داشت. هرچند که رفتار و گفتار ترامپ هم اخلاقی بود. بعلاوه، در این مقاله تاثیرات اجتماعی رفتار دو کاندیدا هم مورد بررسی قرار گرفته است.

Keywords [Persian]

  • تحلیل گفتمان سیاسی
  • دونالد ترامپ
  • جو بایدن
  • نورمن فرکلاف
  • گفتمان سیاسی
Bacon P. Jr. (2018). The Republican Party has changed dramatically since George H. W. Bush ran it. Retrieved from
Baldassarri, D., & Gelman, A. (2008). Partisans without constraint: Political polarization and trends in American public opinion. American Journal of Sociology, 114(2), 408-446.
Beard, A. (2000). The language of politics. Routledge.
Boxell, L., Gentzkow, M., & Shapiro, J. (2017). “Greater Internet use is not associated with faster growth in political polarization among US demographic groups.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114 (40), 10612-10617.
Bruter, M., & Harrison, S. (2009). The Future of Democracy: Young Party Members in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan.
Carothers T., & O’Donohue A. (Eds.). (2019). Democracies divided: The global challenge of political polarization. Brookings Institution Press.
Levinas, E. In R. Kearney (Ed.). Dialogues with contemporary continental. (pp. 47-69). Manchester University Press.
Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. Longman.
Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Polity Press.
Fairclough, N. (2001) Critical discourse analysis as a method in social scientific research. In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (Eds.), Methods of critical discourse analysis (pp. 121-138). SAGE.
Fairclough, N. (2003) Political correctness: The politics of culture and language. Discourse and Society, 14(1), 17-28. https://doi.10.1177/0957926503014001927
Fairclough, I., Fairclough, N. (2012). Political discourse analysis. A method for advanced
            students. Routledge.
Janks, H. (1997). Critical discourse analysis as a research tool. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education, 18(3), 329-42.
Luke, A. (2002). Beyond science and ideology critique: Developments in critical discourse analysis. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 22 (96), 110.https:// doi. Org /10.1 017/ S0267190502000053
Luke, A. (1995-1996). Text and discourse in education: An introduction to critical discourse analysis. In M. W. Apple (Ed.), Review of Research in Education. (pp. 3-48). American Educational Research Association.
Newman, L.S. (2002). Understanding genocide: The social psychology of the Holocaust. Oxford University Press.
Sokhandan; H., Younesi, H., & Rashtchi, M. (2023). English to Persian translation of compound modifiers in the press articles from 2014 to 2017 based on House’s TQA model. Journal of Applied Linguistics Studies, 2(2), 44-57.
Sunstein, C.R. (2002). The law of group polarization, The Journal of Political Philosophy, 10(2), 175–195.
van Dijk, T. A. (1999). Critical discourse analysis and conversation analysis. Discourse and Society. 10(4), 459-460.
van Dijk, T. A. (2000). Ideology and discourse: A multidisciplinary introduction. Retrieved from
Widdowson, H. G. (1998). The theory and practice of critical discourse analysis (Review article). Applied Linguistics, 19(1), 136-51. https://doi/10.1093/APPLIN/19.1.136
Wodak, R. (1995). Critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis. In J. Verschuren, J. O. Ostaman, & J. Blommaert (Eds.). Handbook of pragmatics-Manual (pp. 204-210). John Benjamins.
Wodak, R., & Ludwig, C. (1999). Challenges in a changing world: Issues in critical discourse analysis. Passagenverlag.
  • Receive Date: 05 March 2023
  • Revise Date: 14 June 2023
  • Accept Date: 24 July 2023