The rise of Donald Trump has been greeted outside his fanbase with amusement giving way to frank horror. He has morphed from a weird-haired clown into something far more sinister. The bien pensants are aghast, even the people who pass for bien pensants within the Republican party itself. Still, what everyone seems to agree on is that his method of communication is something quite novel in American politics. Trumpspeak does not traffic in wonkish explanations of policy. It appears free of carefully engineered soundbites. The man speaks as though off the cuff, in an edgy mashup of surreal non sequiturs, jokes, and insults. He doesn’t, in short, sound like a politician. So one theory has it that, as the former political speechwriter Barton Swaim has written, Trump is popular precisely because “he never uses magniloquent rhetoric for any reason. He spurns it.