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The Democratic LeaderHow Democracy Defines, Empowers and Limits its Leaders$
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John Kane and Haig Patapan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199650477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199650477.001.0001

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Leadership and Democratic Rhetoric

Leadership and Democratic Rhetoric

(p.71) 4 Leadership and Democratic Rhetoric
The Democratic Leader

John Kane

Patapan Haig

Oxford University Press

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

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