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Jeffrey De Jesus

Professor Monterrey

English 5

06 March 2020

Rhetorical Analysis: Presidential Campaign Speech

In a democracy voting is everything, and the outcome of an election can drastically

change the history of a nation. That is why a lot of emphasis is put on campaigns to convince

people to vote a certain way. Millions are spent and hundreds sign up for campaign committees

every election cycle to get candidates elected for office. Candidates hold rallies and televise them

to energize their support and convince people to vote for them. One way these candidates are

able to gather more support is through campaign speeches. In the midst of an election, campaign

speeches are important to swaying peoples opinions, getting votes, and raising campaign funds.

These campaign speeches bring up key issues that voters are concerned about and how

candidates will respond to them. The audience is a key part of these speeches and candidates will

aim their speeches towards specific audiences to get the most votes. This essay will explain the

rhetorical choices effective campaign speeches make in order to gain support for an election.

Campaign speeches are a persuasive genre that convince regional groups of people to

vote a certain way. They are typically speeches that need to retain the audience's attention and

bring up important issues. These speeches are highly specialized based on the audience to appeal

to their issues. It needs to grab people's attention, inspire others, and make a show of one’s

leadership. It has to bring people together and get the crowd pumped up. Sentences are usually
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shorter to keep the audience's attention. Campaign speeches typically focus on several key main

issues in politics and why the candidate will be the ideal solution to solve the problem. It has to

build up credibility in a candidate and also discredit other candidates running for the same

position. Campaign speeches begin with addressing the greater audience the candidate is trying

to get votes from.

The main goal of a campaign speech is to persuade voters to vote for a candidate and not

for the other candidate. The author's intention is to motivate voters to vote for a candidate. A lot

is done to set up a campaign speech. Usually speeches are either televised or in front of an

audience in a rally or it can be both. These speeches are intended to be seen by as many voters as

possible so there is advertising involved for the speech. Additional goals of a campaign speech

that help a candidate win votes but are not the primary goal are gathering attention, bringing up

hot issues, earn fundraising, undermining opponents, energizing support, and keeping people’s

attention. In a crowded field of candidates, a candidate will need to raise attention to their

campaign if anyone is to vote for them. No one will vote for a candidate if they don’t know that

candidate exists. Speeches can help bring attention to one's campaign through controversial and

engaging topics. Media and news organizations that think what a candidate is saying is

interesting will share it to other people generating more interest in a campaign and separating

one from a crowded field. Take the example of Trump in the 2016 election with a crowded

Republican field. Many thought Trump had no chance of becoming the nominee in such a

crowded field but he grabbed voter’s attention to his campaign. He did this with speeches where

he said the most over the top statements and saying outrageous things about his opponents. This

got him free attention and got helped separate him from a crowded field. The topic of a campaign
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speech are usually two or three key issues that voters most care about. The candidate dresses

these issues and their solution to the issues. To prove why they are the candidate that is best for

solving this issue, they will use either ethos or logos to convince voters. Ethos is to build up their

credibility of being the best and this usually comes in the form of their experience in government

or endorsements from other prominent figures in government or experts on the issue. Ethos can

also come from the form of celebrities or people with large audiences to convince voters to

support that candidate. Logos comes in the form of statistics or data that backs up a candidate's

proposal for a solution. From this a candidate is able to prove they are an ideal candidate for

solving the issue. Additionally, a speech has the goal of persuading voters to not vote for other

candidates. There may be other candidates that either agree with most issues or are running as

opposed views to one's own campaign. Candidates that agree with your issues comes down to

who is more qualified for the job where ethos is a greater importance. Using negative points to a

candidate’s history can prove a candidate as less qualified. Candidates with a platform opposed

to your ideas have to be approached differently. While they can be discredited through their

history, to appeal to more voters requires more of a use of logos and pathos. Logos and pathos

are used to convince voters that your platform is the correct platform and your issues and

solutions are more important.

The audience generally consists of a specific region such as a state, region, province, or

country. The audience of a speech varies depending on how many more votes a candidate needs

but the largest possible audience they can have is everyone who can vote. Candidates cannot

appeal to everyone and should not appeal to everyone if they want to win an election. Many

people have conflicting opinions and to find common ground that everyone would agree upon
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would either be extremely rare or extremely difficult. If you are trying to appeal to every voter

you might not appeal strongly to any voter and will lose your votes to every other candidate that

appeals to specific voting groups. On the other hand, candidates try to appeal to specific

audiences rather than trying to appeal to everyone. Candidates must appeal to different voter

blocks like democrats or republicans, old or young, rural or suburban, black or white. These

voting groups have shown to vote consistently together so instead of having to individually

convince every voter, convincing certain groups will appeal to more people. If a candidate is able

to appeal to specific groups that can form a large enough coalition, they could get the votes to

win the election. How candidates appeal to specific groups is by pathos or by trying to be more

relatable to these voting groups. They would definitely do their best to show respect to those

groups and acknowledge any important history or traditions those groups hold. Additionally they

would try to use the voting group’s native language when talking to them. An example of this is

in the 2020 presidential race where several democratic candidates had a part of their speech in

Spanish when addressing issues of the Latino community in order to reach out more to them.

This also shows respect to the different groups and makes them feel more like one of them.

Different groups have different issues in mind and care more for some issues compared to others.

A candidate trying to appeal to Democrats would talk about the issues the Democratic party

cares more about and a candidate trying to appeal to Republicans would focus more on issues the

Republican party cares more about.

To conclude the main purpose of a campaign speech is to get a candidate elected through

building up support, raising funds, bringing up certain issues, and energizing their base of

support. The audience is key to campaign speeches as they're the ones who will be voting in the
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election and candidates will have to appeal to certain groups in order to gain their vote. Rhetoric

is used to appeal to voters to get a candidate elected. Speeches use rhetoric as outlined above

with its purpose and audience to connect with voters and appeal to them.