Due to the amplified importance of forging an intimate connection with
the American public, modern presidents must adjust their political
personalities and leadership. To combat allegations of elitism, recent
Republican presidents have adopted anti-intellectualism as a conservative
form of populism. Anti-intellectualism is defined as disparagement of the
complexity associated with intellectual pursuits, and a rejection of the
elitism and self-aware attitude of distinction that is commonly associated
with intellectual life. This article focuses on the benefits and costs of
anti-intellectualism as a strategic response to the plebiscitary demands
of contemporary presidential politics.
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