As the politics itself is a specific communication process, the speech here becomes crucial for the effectiveness of this process. On the eve of the US 2016 presidential elections, it is worth to analyze the speeches of the leading candidates. Donald Trump, the audacious real estate tycoon, billionaire and public figure, appears to be one of the brightest and the most contradictory among the Republican candidates.
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According to Perloff, the presidential speeches in comparison with other political speeches are more optimistic, realistic and uncomplicated (106). Considering Donald Trump’s announcement speech of 16th June 2015, one may suggest that he does not stick to any particular traditions and rules. However, some propagandistic techniques can still be found in his speech.
Trump starts from a minor note, stating that America is now in the big trouble. He refers to the classical “friend or foe” division technique (Nelson 764), claiming that the primary threat to the US comes not from the ISIS but China and Mexico: “Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day and we as a country are getting weaker” (“Transcript…” par. 6). He vehemently blames the current American leaders for speaking too much and no real actions and utter disability to negotiate with the rivaling parties.
The only leader to take this country out of the precipice is Donald Trump. Using the traditional propagandistic technique of referral to authorities or “testimonial” (Sparks-Vian 159), he positions himself as the authority. He asserts his success and richness; he knows his merits and is sure that he is a nice person. Appealing to the urgent problems of the society, Trump claims that he “will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created” (“Transcript…” par. 40); he will take the jobs back from China, Mexico, Japan and other countries.
As any presidential candidate, Trump tries to be interactive and close to the audience, using the “plain folks” technique (Sparks-Vian 160); this can be seen in the use of “we” pronouns. However, most of the time he speaks of “we” when mentioning some problematic issues: “we’ve got nothing”, “we are dying”, “we’re becoming a third-world country” (“Transcript…”). When it comes to the solution of those problems, there is only “I” in Trump’s assertions. Perloff explains that referral to oneself is typical for presidential speeches, as the candidate tends to “personalize political decisions” (107).
Trump’s speech is highly unstructured. He starts with some serious topic, then his mind comes upon some story from everyday life, then it breaks, and the listener hears an unexpected conclusion (Fish, par. 3). Trump does not use any poetical constructions, high-blown epithets, and metaphors. However, he broadly uses anaphora emphasizing the phrases at the beginning of the sentences (Foley 192). As to the non-verbal component of the speech, it can be seen that Trump is rather serious; he does not smile and uses his right hand all the time to stress the importance of the problem (“Donald Trump Full Speech…”). At the end of his speech, Trump once again establishes the grave fact that America is in a big trouble, but there still is hope to save the situation: “Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again” (“Transcript…” par. 165).
Overall, it can be stated that Donald Trump appears to be a drastic realist and a man of action. The language of his speech is clear and easily perceptible. American people are tired of political eloquence with no result. That is why everyday Donald Trump is gaining more and more popularity.
Donald Trump Full Speech: 2016 Presidential Campaign Announcement June 16 at Trump Tower, New York. 2015. Web.
Fish, Stanley. Trump’s Good Bad Speaking Style. 2015. Web.
Foley, Michael. Political Leadership: Themes, Contexts, and Critiques. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Nelson, Michael. Guide to the Presidency. New York, NY: Routledge, 2015. Print.
Perloff, Richard M. Political Communication: Politics, Press, and Public in America. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Sparks-Vian, Cassian. “Rhetoric and Responces: Electioneering on YouTube.” Media Talk and Political Elections in Europe and America. Ed. Andrew Tolson and Mats Ekstrom. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 155-179. Print.
Transcript of Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential Announcement. 2015. Web.