American exceptionalism in a democratic idiom: Transacting the mythos of change in the 2008 presidential campaign

Robert L. Ivie, Oscar Giner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


The mythos of the 2008 presidential campaign rhetoric is examined for the potential it reveals to transform political culture from within, specifically to articulate a synergic relationship between American exceptionalism and democracy that depolarizes political discourse and promotes interdependency in the form of collaborative and complementary relations. Barack Obama's campaign mantra of change was ritually resisted and reinforced by the symbolic act of John McCain's heroic last stand, which dramatized an attitudinal shift away from national chauvinism and toward a more democratic ethos. This shift was expressed by Obama in a prophetic discourse of restoration and renewal that would turn the myth of exceptionalism into a certification of democratic aspirations and democracy into a vehicle for pursuing the American dream.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-375
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009



  • American Exceptionalism
  • Barack Obama
  • Democratic Idiom
  • John McCain
  • Myth
  • Presidential Campaign Rhetoric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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