Colbert King: “Donald Trump is the new Marion Barry” (March Week 4)

In Colbert King’s article, “Donald Trump is the new Marion Barry,” he equates Donald Trump to Marion Barry, a radical African-American populist politician from the 1970s to the 1990s. King relates the two by showing similarities, as well as quoting Barry on immigrants. King’s purpose is to connect Trump with a real historical example to show how this type of politician has fared relatively recently. His intended audience is those who have been aware of politics for some time now, as he gives little background on Marion Barry or Trump, more launching into a list of commonalities between the two.

King spends most of the article showing common traits between the two, saying things such as “Both men responded to a call, heard by them alone, to seek political power. And they received adulation from people who believed the man knew them, respected and spoke for them, in a language that the powerbrokers would not otherwise have heard.” He also quotes Barry, saying that “He famously complained about ‘immigrants . . . particularly from the Philippines.'” These two sorts of things help draw connections between Trump and Barry for those who understand the two men, as well as those (such as myself) who are only familiar with Trump. This helps to expand his appeal to readers, creating a more effective article. Barry ends the article by attacking Trump’s closest rival, Ted Cruz, calling him “Commandant Cruz,” and saying that “the Republican elite, in their mortal fear of Trump, are in the process of sucking up to Cruz is sickening,” which serves as an assault on the entirety of the GOP, and shifts the focus of the article from comparing radical white and black politicians to one that is simply a Republican hate-fest.



Mr. King,

You talk about the similarities is Barry and Trump’s rhetoric, but you don’t talk about Barry’s actual accomplishments in office. What were some things he did as mayor of D.C.? Do those potentially outweigh his harsh talk?


3 thoughts on “Colbert King: “Donald Trump is the new Marion Barry” (March Week 4)

  1. John,
    I have never heard of this politician until now. It seems as the shift from the comparison between Trump and Barry to Cruz seems a little random, but it is possibly present to demonstrate King’s position regarding the election as a whole. Do you ever question why people are so attracted to hate speeches rather than traditional campaign information speeches?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John,

    I have begun to disregard the majority of political columns because of articles like this. Neither present much of an argument without the in your face mudslinging of American politics. For me, King’s argument blends into the background of dissent.

    Jacob DeWitt


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