Date of Award


Degree Name

Communication Studies


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Stephen M. Underhill

Second Advisor

Jill C. Underhill

Third Advisor

Camilla Brammer


The long campaign to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act situated President Donald J. Trump in a context where attacks on President Barack Obama’s signature legislation symbolized a broader repudiation of his legacy. Even more than mainstream Republican partisans, the altright blogosphere celebrated the demise of the law to symbolically cleanse the nation of Obama’s influence. Trump attempted to honor his pledge to end Obamacare in his first year of office with his support of the American Health Care Act (March 2017), Better Care Reconciliation Act (July 2017), and the Graham-Cassidy Bill (September 2017). Members of the alt-right reframed Trump’s arguments for these bills in ways that attempted to normalize their overt white supremacy in public life. This analysis examines how Trump and the alt-right co-created ambient intimacy with their audiences on Twitter amid the repeal debates. Trump’s digital rhetoric communicated cynicism, lamentation, and anger, which alt-right nodes remixed and recirculated in ways that amplified his cultural presence in uncivil corners of the web and aligned it with white supremacy



Communication in politics -- Technological innovations -- United States.

White supremacy movements -- United States.

White nationalism -- United States.

Trump, Donald, 1946 -- In mass media.