Unprecedented: Donald Trump’s Endless Rupture
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Critical historical events are formed and made coherent by fundamental semiotic mechanisms that are representational, demonstrative, and performative. Via these mechanisms, events are provided with a past (precedent) and a possible future (trajectory). The U.S. presidential administration of Donald Trump has been characterized as “unprecedentedµ. This includes Trump’s actions, his language, and his associations. The category of the “unprecedentedµ presents several temporal conundrums: it is without a history, without precedent but, even more interesting, the unprecedented derails even a projection of a future. Events, are unprecedented when they are in formation, to be sure. But the forces attempting to control and shape events mobilize precedents, histories, and a path forward to do so. This article describes what is temporally unabsorbable about the “unprecedentedµ and focuses on the case of the Trump presidency to do so.