The aim of the dissertation paper is to critically analyse inappropriate expressions in political discourse by comparing pre-election campaigns in the Croatian and American political systems. In contemporary public and political discourse, it is of utmost importance for a politician to attract and to retain public interest, and, if possible, to gain the citizens' trust. However, most people find politics tedious, and need a certain metalanguage that helps them understand political content and messages. When politicians use inappropriate expressions and insult their opponents, citizens are able to comprehend more easily the conflicts between political leaders and parties, which happen at daily basis and are usually covered by various forms of media. Unsuitable idioms and offensive discourse attract attention and arouse citizens' interest in political processes such as parliamentary elections. We singled out main features of contemporary campaigns related to competition and confrontation of political candidates, as was earlier observed in the patterns of their linguistic behaviour, and the theoretical framework of van Dijk's (2005) ideological square based on the strategies of legitimization and delegitimization. The basic idea that we have proposed is the use of different linguistic mechanisms by which politicians try to present their own image and activities to the electorate in a positive sense, and their opponents in a negative sense. At the same time, politicians adapt to changes in the way they communicate with the public. By using different sources of media, they try to create campaigns that will attract as many voters as possible. Since one of the important changes involves the gradual weakening of the border between the private and public spheres, politicians in communication with citizens use personalized messages that inevitably contain features of a conversational style, such as jocular statements and words from slang. The similar type of discourse with inappropriate expressions is also used for the purpose of delegitimizing opponents, which is, from our point of view, strategic and systematic. In addition to personalized politics, we have listed some other elements of political campaigns, such as Americanization and the creation of a political spectacle, that primarily depend on the degree of democratic and technological development of a certain society. Although at first we had an impression that there are large similarities between the way Croatian and American election campaigns are designed, by searching the particularities of the origin and development of their parliamentary systems, we have come to the conclusion that analogies are very slight and refer, for instance, to the overall notion of concepts such as populism or utilitarianism. The way these and other political concepts will be applied in the communication between politicians and citizens largely depends on historical, ideological, cultural and political factors. Namely, in a relatively short period of thirty years, the Croatian parliamentary system went through various stages of the development of a multi-party system and the consequent emergence of electoral and party competition. On the other hand, verbal attacks by opposing candidates, offensive speech and the use of inappropriate expressions have been recorded in the American political discourse since the creation of this country in the eighteenth century. Nevertheless, at the turn from the twentieth to the twenty-first century and especially in the past twenty years, due to the accelerated development of new media, the use of inappropriate expressions in public, including political discourse, is more often recorded and consequently more commented. This kind ofsocial awareness points to the possibility of controlling the usage of inappropriate discourse in public space. We find the basis for our viewpoint in the establishment of various forms of regulatory mechanisms, of which we have presented the provisions of the Election Code of Ethics for Croatian pre-election campaigns, and an overview of inappropriate language forms that should be avoided in pre-election campaigns discourse, as has been agreed by the American leading media companies. The research of miscellaneous media texts at different websites have also confirmed that preelection campaigns provide fertile ground for the occurrence of inappropriate language forms used by politicians in order to legitimise their activities or the activities of their parties, and at the same time to delegitimise their opponents. The basic feature of such idioms and expressions is to trigger immediate reaction among general public and to produce new texts/discourses either in the form of the opponents' responses, or in the form of readers' comments in the press. It has been noted that citizens are often more engaged in online forums than, for instance, journalists and politicians, largely because the online correspondence offers anonymity and thus greater freedom in criticising public figures. Media texts with politicians' announcements provoke a multitude of reactions, and consequently new texts are created, which additionally underline the negative aspect of the initial statements. With the development of media and network technologies, it is possible to closely examine and analyse the politicians' public speeches, thus the sample for the analysis contained available online articles and readers' comments. Furthermore, we have concluded that critical discourse analysis (CDA) represents the most suitable framework for researching the mentioned forms of written discourse. Equally, we believe that CDA offers an open approach to language research and the possibility of upgrading its own framework, to a certain extent by adopting certain components of other approaches, depending on the type of discourse we want to analyze. Thus we have proposed a sort of supplemented approach to CDA through our research, by including in the theoretical framework the analysis of the context of the situation and the use of context models of political discourse participants. We have expanded the definition of inappropriate expressions in relation to their study in political discourse, so we presented them as linguistic forms in opposition to the notion of political correctness. Among the mentioned forms, we singled out labeling, irony and sarcasm, as well as negative metaphor and metonymy, in accordance with the common communicative goals of the speakers who use them, which are to cause mockery and ridicule, belittling, underestimating and ultimately insulting political dissenters and opponents. We advocate the viewpoint that the use of inappropriate expressions in political discourse is a part of a manipulative strategy, as well as a strategy of delegitimization, which also violates the established postulates of polite and cooperative linguistic behavior. The problem that we have discovered in terms of the categorization of the inappropriate expressions, arises from the limitation of the lexicon, where there is a given set of derogatory words that is certainly not sufficient to cover all ways of expressing political incorrectness. In addition to the common cognitive environment of the participants in the communication process, a certain type of language community agreement is also needed for these language forms to be recognized as inappropriate. The methodological framework included a detailed content analysis and van Dijk's (2008:30) „situation analysis“ of the selected inappropriate expressions from the Croatian and the American election campaigns in the period from the mid 2015 to the end of 2018. Due to the greater availability of data, the research was conducted on a corpus of texts published on the web portals of the Croatian and the American media publishers. Readers' comments were further analysed using the SentiStrength computer program, with the aim of obtaining a systematic and objective presentation of citizens' value attitudes towards inappropriate expressions. The research has shown polarities in ideological and thus political orientations in the Croatian and the American political discourses, which is related to their different historical, socio-political and cultural contexts. The basic distinction between the inappropriate discourse of the Croatian and the American parliamentary campaigns, in addition to ideological conflicts between left and right political options, is that a certain number of expressions in the American corpus were based on racial and ethnic stereotypical patterns. The link between the discourse analysis of the Croatian and the American campaigns, apart from general features such as the use of personalized messages with elements of conversational language and the tendency of the media towards creating a political spectacle, can be found in the ideological role of the media when they publicly present parts of the political discourse which contain inappropriate expressions. Specifically, after examining the contents of news headlines and articles’ comments, we concluded that media publishers determine which expressions will be emphasized and with what degree of inappropriateness they will be marked, thus indirectly influencing citizens' reactions to the mentioned forms of political discourse. The similarities with the appearance of offensive speech in the Croatian political discourse may be explained through the contemporary socio-political context in Croatia, which is exposed to the phenomena of Americanization and the efforts of politicians to connect with citizens through more informal and casual forms of communication, or the process of “conversationalisation”. In this process, both Croatian and American politicians used strategies of delegitimization, trying to create a negative image of opposing parties and candidates in public. However, most expressions containing features of racial, gender and sexual insults encountered a high percentage of negative assessment by citizens. The overall results of the research confirmed in certain parts our main hypothesis on the extension of private speech in public discourse, and that the degree of inappropriateness in expressions depends on the number and type of their recontextualizations. Therefore, the public opinion and attitudes towards inappropriate expressions are adjusted according to various political, historical, cultural, and situational contexts. This approach to critical discourse analysis has also pointed to language forms that are unequivocal examples of racial, gender, sexual, ethnic and national intolerance. In this vein, the results of the paper might serve for improvement of public appearance models, and development of strategies for avoiding hate speech.