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An Analysis of the Interruptions Made by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the First 2016 Presidential Debate

WRONG! LIES! THAT’S NOT FAIR! The first debate of the 2016 US Presidential Elections was a debate watched around the world for a number of reasons. It was the first debate in which a female candidate was nominated by a major political party, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who faced a businessman without any prior political or military experience, instead decades of dealings in multi-million dollar businesses and in the public entertainment industry, Donald Trump. Coverage asked questions of candidates’ morals and the person each was claiming to be. I argue based on conversational analysis that Trump’s public persona, his Stance, is so recognisably different from typical debaters that he forms his own authoritarian Stance. This can be seen through his extreme usage of Interruptions: both turn-controlling, topic-controlling, and back- channels. A comparative analysis of the Interruptive techniques of Trump, Clinton, and the moderator, Holt, in the first presidential debate shows further how Trump’s style of speaking forms his own linguistic persona.