Abstract

From 2015 through 2020, Donald Trump used tackle football to perform the populist persona that allowed him to seize the American presidency. Trump's deployment of tackle football becomes apparent when considering his references to the game within the context of three vital historical elements: football's ideological origins, the Republican Party's Long Southern Strategy (LSS), and the gendered, racial, and religious debates that occurred in and through football just before and during Trump's time (perhaps first term) in office. The United States’ most popular spectator sport stemmed from white supremacist, patriarchal, and muscular Christian roots. In addition, from 1964 to recent years, to break up the Democratic Party's New Deal coalition in the South (and beyond), Republican Party (GOP or Grand Old Party) politicians tactically levied a tripartite of appeals to ameliorate anxieties born from parallel racial, gendered, and religious commitments. Then, in the twenty-first century, public controversies within the gridiron game pertaining to head trauma, celebrity players, and racial justice protests provided platforms for Trump to demonstrate his uniquely unapologetic and strident devotion to the LSS's main principles.

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