A close analysis of the modern American presidents in terms of their power of persuasion reveals that many of them were rather effective in this respect. Here are the most demonstrative examples:
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- Franklin D. Roosevelt, who suffered from poliomyelitis, had to spend a lot of time in hospitals. When he was being treated at the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, he had a chance to get in close contact with the lowest class of citizens, the poorest farmers destroyed by the Great Depression. This helped him formulate most of New Deal ideas and work them into the fabric of the American society as he never lost this personal contact with the nation. Coupled with his perfect rhetoric, this talent to establish connections helped him stir the whole generation to action (Jowett and O’Donnell 54).
- John Kennedy enjoyed the same popularity due to his power of persuasion. He successfully achieved his goal of sending a man to the Moon and managed to beat the Soviet Union mostly due to his ability to capture people’s imagination. He was effective in this since he was never afraid of the big and bold and could transform unimaginable things into time-specific, detailed action plans (Jowett and O’Donnell 68).
- Lyndon B. Johnson convinced American people in the success of his Great Society reforms using himself as an example. Since he grew up in poverty and knew perfectly what it is like to work up to success, the program became humanized and the statistics were brought to life. It happened to owe to Johnson’s talent to connect with people first emotionally and then intellectually (Jowett and O’Donnell 76).
- Ronald Reagan used his power of persuasion mostly for pushing his ideas and policies through Congress avoiding resistance. His personal charisma played a great role. Although his idea of putting the burden of the government off people was totally opposite to Roosevelt’s plan of increased governmental presence, it was unanimously accepted by Congress due to his personal charm and sense of integrity (Wilson et al. 59).
Although it is still early to judge the current Administration, the ability of Donald Trump to persuade the nation is unquestionable. First and foremost, he understands that people are irrational and it is often the right move to appeal to emotions, making listeners ignore facts. Secondly, he avoids information that is not beneficial for him and warps reality until he gets what he wants. Finally, he successfully used social media manipulation, changing the game through direct right-wing propaganda, which altered the images of candidates in the eyes of voters.
Jowett, Garth S., and Victoria O’Donnell. Propaganda & Persuasion. Sage, 2014.
Wilson, James Q., John J. DiIulio, and Meena Bose. American Government: Institutions and Policies. Cengage Learning, 2016.