Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Terri A. Fredrick


This thesis provides an overview of the history of satire, its rhetorical structure, and my interpretation of its historically culminated five fundamental characteristics. I also introduce that the rise in popularity of American political satire through various media has inspired a new wave of American satirists who project their own political satirical messages through social media platforms and how Twitter, in particular, has provided those "average" individuals with the opportunity to more actively, directly, and satirically take part in political discussions. With a collection of two data sets of tweets—one larger live tweet sweep during the first 2016 presidential debate and a study of five "average" individual political satirists' tweets throughout a majority of the 2016 presidential campaign and after—I analyze how these tweets command a legitimacy into the established satirical realm because of their adherence to the fundamental characteristics presented. I also analyze how this particular social media platform affects these texts' productions through the challenges presented to satirists and strategies that have emerged to combat those challenges. I then discuss the implications for and opportunities provided to average American citizens as political satirical commentators on Twitter in the changing world of American politics.