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Propaganda & Donald Trump

Essay by   •  April 23, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  1,607 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,310 Views

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Propaganda & Donald Trump

During the American Presidential Elections, it became highly evident that propaganda can be used as a form of political warfare. A propaganda technique is an improper appeal to emotion used for the purpose of swaying the opinions of an audience. The following propaganda techniques are common: bandwagon, name-calling, card-stacking and the list continues. The speeches made by each candidate were filled with propaganda techniques used to persuade their targeted audience into almost blindly following their campaigns.  We will focus on one of the most controversial candidates, Donald Trump. Donald Trump, manipulates the audiences, by using a plethora of carefully selected words and propaganda techniques. We will be looking at a few transcripts of a few recent speeches given by Mr. Trump.

 “TRUMP: (OFF-MIKE) This was going to be a speech on Hillary Clinton and all the bad things and we all know what's going on, and especially how poor she'd do as president in these very, very troubled times of radical Islamic terrorism.” (Trump) Donald Trump starts his speech by combining two propaganda techniques called name-calling and simplification against his competitor Hillary Clinton. Trump states that his speech “was going to be a speech on Hillary Clinton and all of the bad things… and especially how poor she’d do a president.” This statement uses name-calling and simplification to criticize Clinton. The audience then begins associating her name with being a “poor president”. And Trumps has now convinced the audience that he is a more fit candidate.

Trump also uses what’s known as basically name calling in reverse; “glittering generalities,” a propaganda device common to politics. His campaign slogan, “Make American Great Again,” is an example. Great how? And for whom?  Glittering generalities are words that have no specific meaning. Glittering generalities appeal to the emotions and ideals and beliefs. Errol Nelson disagreed with this notion, as Nelson saw Trump’s campaign slogan as a transfer propaganda technique in his article “Propaganda, the 2016 Presidential Election and Donald Trump”.  He sees his slogan as a form of propaganda but not the “glittering generalities,” kind. Transfer: Appeals to a person’s imagination of something we like or trust. Trump: “Make America Great Again”. (Nelson) Nelson believes that Trump uses a propaganda form of Transfer.  Transfer propaganda like glittering generalities; this technique involves making an illogical association between one thing and something else that is generally viewed as positive or negative.

Moving to some more crafty words from Mr. Trump. We will be taking a look at another transcript from another speech of his. He opens up by thinking Arizona in a speech held in front of a large rally in Phoenix. After thanking the crowd of Phoenix, and telling them how glad he was to be back in the area; he moves directly into a bandwagon appeal. “The state that has a very, very special place in my heart. I love people of Arizona and together we are going to win the White House in November.” (Trump) He mentioned “we are going to when the White House” He persuaded the state crowd and makes it appear that many people have joined the cause already, and that they are having lots of fun or are getting significant advantage in following his campaign. Such classic propaganda creating a divided “us versus them” alternative world, a world based more on perception and opinion than reality.  He went on to address the “issue” of immigration in Arizona. “Then there is the issue of security. Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws like they have to be enforced.” (Trump) Here Trump uses two propaganda techniques called fear and loaded words to implement fear into the people of Phoenix on immigration and violence. He goes on to discredits all other politicians before himself.  Trump plays on the crowds deep-seated fears; warns the audience that disaster will result if they do not follow his particular course of action. Because he made it seem as if the poor immigration regulations in America was a result of other politicians, from this, Trump was able to plug in his potential strategy to control this if he were to become president. This is very persuasive because it manipulates the emotions of the audience into thinking that if Trump were president then the national security of the country would be much stronger.

 

His acceptance speech at the Republican Convention was in Cleveland. He claimed America is in crisis, communities in chaos, with attacks on police and terrorism in the cities that threaten America’s way of life. He picked certain crime statistics but ignored the fact that crime in America is at its lowest in history. He spent a lot of time on the name-calling Hillary Clinton at the climax of a convention “Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order.” (Trump)
        
“These are the facts: Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years” (Trump) This quote is a form of Card Stacking. This Propaganda technique gives an unfair advantage to one point of view, while weakening the other. Arguments that are used in card stacking in terms of the information are usually honest, but it may be misleading because it may present facts in a way that is usually out of context. Card stacking also obscures important facts.

A common propaganda technique used by Putin’s Kremlin in Russia as well as in Ukraine and Europe “is to put out so many lies that people are simply too overwhelmed” and exhausted to see clearly. This technique confuses the audience with information overload, ultimately ending up leaving audiences unable to think critically or make sense of all the chaos before them. The idea is that given so many lies, that something will stick, and people will be unable to resist coming to believe to at least some portion of the lies. This is the first I've read about Russian political strategy being used but I believe it's a valid observation. The entire campaign (and now their party) on the republican side just infuses with Russia and, it’s like Putin has taken over that party, completely. Trumps campaign was run like a Russian presidential campaign.

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