Donald Trump was the underdog in the recent election that took place on November 8th, 2016. He was seen as a businessman for many years prior to wanting to become the President of the United States. He is among some of the richest in America. Therefore, he had the money he needed to run for presidency. He was able to convince enough Americans that he was a good candidate to become President. While, most sectors and Americans predicted he would lose the election, it was a shock to many when he was able to pull off a victory. Trump may have carried himself poorly in some situations, but the campaign he was able to pull off might have been the biggest factor in why he won. He was able to use media, comments, and beliefs to relate to the majority of the American population.
IDEOLOGY AND PURPOSE
Trump and his campaign were apart of the biggest propaganda movement that has occurred in years. While, there were multiple commercials, posters, and media posts regarding the election, Trump and his team was a major player in all that was being presented. The purpose of all of the ads and statements were to secure more votes from the voters that were in between the democratic and republican party. Trump used the campaign to persuade the American voters that he was the best-fit candidate to be the next President. Some of the beliefs Trump used in order to convey this message were his opinions on guns, war, immigration, taxes, and healthcare. These are all present issues that need to be addressed in America that Trump focused on in order to create his goals while being in office.
The target audience for this campaign was focused on the voters that were neither determined republican or democratic. These voters usually have one aspect of the campaign that makes their decision for which they vote. It did not make sense for Trump to make advertisements and spend money for the people that were already going to vote for him. On the other hand, he was not going to spend time or money trying to convince strong democrats to vote for Hillary Clinton either. It was stated in the article “The Voters Who Gave Trump the White House”, the type of audience that actually voted for Trump. While majority were from rural areas and primarily white it had to deal with Trumps beliefs. Trump was able to win over states that have not been Republican in many years. Trump needed to get the message to these undecided voters that he was the better candidate and how he plans to improve the country by “making America great again”. In order to ensure that this audience was reached and had the most access to the campaign Trump ensured to make may appearances in the swing states. According to Mahtesian, some of the swing states he visited were Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, and Iowa.
CONTEXT OF PROPAGANDA
The context of the propaganda that was used in this campaign was only relevant and able to send the proper message, if the viewer knew the proper context. For example, the commercials, ads, and posters bashing Hillary Clinton were only seen as negative propaganda towards the Democratic Party ,if the viewer knew the information behind the message. This being said many aspects of the debate, speeches, and comments could be taken out of context in order to twist the candidate’s words in both positive and negative aspects.
This image is an example of a piece of media that only can be interpreted with previous knowledge regarding both parties and their history.
Along with knowing the proper context of each message being portrayed, it is very important that the viewer understands and has their own opinions on the events and issues that are going to be impacted by whoever goes into office. A few of the major topics that were a major factor in this election was abortion, gun laws, college education, healthcare, taxes and creating more jobs for Americans. In order for the audience to understand what was being said in each visual rhetoric, video and debate it was essential they understood these topics and the impact each topic would have on ones personal life. Therefore, the context of any of these topics could have been changed and differed depending on the person who was analyzing it.
IDENTIFICATION OF PROPAGANDIST
The propagandist in this situation is Donald Trump and everyone that worked under his campaign title from the Republican Party. Due to the context of the election it was important that the propagandist was known in this situation, otherwise the message would not have been effective. Donald Trump was the lead propagandist, but not necessarily the one behind the creation of most of the propaganda. While, Donald Trump needed to approve all advertisements, posters and commercials that were under his name, he was not the one actually creating these documents. The Trump campaign created a website that has the following logo, which was used heavily in the election and around the United States. Donald Trump and Mike Pence were the main faces of the campaign because they traveled around the country heavily within the last eight months, in order to persuade and get the attention of the audience that consisted of known republicans and those that were between both parties. Although in some situations, according to Langley, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump all traveled around to places Donald Trump could not make it to talk to Americans about why Trump is the best candidate. The Trump campaign was able to use many other faces besides just Trumps in order to get his goals and purpose out.
STRUCTURE OF PROPAGANDA ORGANIZATION
The campaign of Trump was structured behind the ideas that Trump believes in. While, Trump is the main focus and leader of the election campaign for the Republican Party, he carried and delivered the beliefs that most republicans stand behind. Due to the fact that Trump was representing the republicans shows that they supported his thoughts enough to elect him into the race of the presidential election. It is Trump who presented the information and messages in most of the rallies, but he was not the only one that was putting in the time, effort and designs for the core of the campaign. The republican organization that he hired were the ones that supported him to help get the messages across to the audience through media, newspapers, and advertisements.
MEDIA UTILIZATION TECHNIQUES
The media was used heavily in this campaign due to the fact that media is now a primary version of communication. The use of media especially helped to ensure that Trumps message reached and had an impact of the views and votes of the millennial generation who had many first time voters. Some of the media that was used during this campaign consisted of Facebook, online magazines, news channels and websites, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. The filters on Snapchat targeted the younger audience since they are the most frequent users of that media. The news and Facebook was able to reach out to the older generations since a lot of Grandmas, Grandpas, mom and dads use this media in order to stay in touch with old friends or family. While on these different medias , the message was portrayed and used visual rhetoric. Most of the items that were on these sites were posters, memes, photos, and phrases. Due to the use of visual rhetoric on these sites the information could be analyzed however the viewer wanted based on their own beliefs and opinions.
The audience during this election had many different reactions to the campaigns and to the results. During rallies, like most elections, the opposite party would be protesting outside of the venue. People would create arguments on social media regarding the debates and beliefs that are being presented. Friends would get in arguments about who is the “right” candidate for America. When memes or videos were posted on social media, it caused an arousal out of many Americans, whether they were for or against the video. A lot of people were against what Trump had to say in most debates because they sought him as a rapist, rude, or racist. According to Chapter four of persuasion and propaganda, “cultural truisms”, play a major role in politics. Cultural trusims is when one will be resistant to persuasion because what they believe is engraved in their mind and nothing will ever make them change their beliefs. This is what is taking place by the negative reactions. The Democrats will never agree with what the Republican Party has to say because of the beliefs that they hold onto. However, in the end he was able to win out the majority due the realistic ideas he had to offer in order to improve the country. When Trump won many citizens began protesting on the streets. For example, the streets were rushed in many cities, like Chicago, New York, Detroit, and St. Louis, with hate, violence and riots. Some were even so disrespectful that they burned the American flag.
This image is outside of the Trump Tower in Chicago.
In the picture above it shows that a lot of people do not accept the fact or respect the fact that he won the presidency. On the other hand, the target audience and Republicans were ecstatic that Trump had won the election.
The counterpropaganda in this situation was very noticeable and easy to distinguish, as it was Trumps competition in the election. The counterpropaganda in this case is also able to touch the ten steps of analysis within propaganda. The counterpropaganda was being used through the Democratic Party, with the main propagandist being Hillary Clinton. While, the ideology was very similar to Trumps, it differs in the fact that the Democrats having different opinions, beliefs, and views of the same issues that are going on in America. The structure is also very similar to the structure of the Republicans because of the fact that the presidential candidate is the main face and leader with many others helping to support and portray their beliefs to the Americans. The target audience for Hillary Clinton was the swing states, but also many intercity locations in order to speak to those that might be open to her beliefs in what she would like to offer to the country. Another area both campaigns were similar was the use of media and social medias in order to get their general message across. However, Hillary lacked in having a known phrase in order to catch the attention of voters.
Posters like this one were used to show that Hillary should be voted for instead of Trump.
The video above is something that Hillary Clinton used to compete against Trump in the election. During this election, both candidates picked each other apart and used the other candidate’s weaknesses to win over the public, which is what the purpose of this advertisement was.
EFFECTS AND EVALUATION
This campaign that Donald Trump held and ran was one of the most famous events in American history. He was able to use propaganda to his advantage in order to get his message out to the Americans. By creating a slogan such as “make American great again”, he was able to grab the attention of the average American. While, Trump won the votes of America and the electoral collage, it is important to know that propaganda almost worked against him. While, the Republican Party was able to use media and sources to get their information out to the public of why Trump was a better candidate than Hillary, Hillary was able to get attention of some voters by using Trumps own words against him. Obviously, due to the win by Trump, the Republicans were able to portray their information better and had ideas that were easier to persuade the voters with. Everything that was used in this election was propaganda because it used mass media in order to persuade others to believe in what the Trump campaign was saying. After the election there were multiple protests and upset Americans, to an extent no other election has faced, so Trump now needs to be able to control and win this audience over with persuasion.
This video is an example of all Trumps is going to need to accomplish in the next year in order to improve America. He has an entire battle that he still needs to win, by persuading and using visual rhetoric that will help to show individuals that he cares.
”The Big Lie”: How Trump Uses Classic Authoritarian Propaganda Techniques. Retrieved November 15, 2016,from http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/37455-the-big-lie-how-trump-uses-classic-authoritarian-propaganda-techniques
Hendrickson, J. (2016). Donald Trump’s First General Election Campaign Ad Is Overflowing with Propaganda. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a47821/new-trump-ad-general-election/
Langley, M. (2016). Donald Trump’s Children Jump Into the Campaign Fray. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-children-jump-into-the-campaign-fray-1459267270
Mahtesian, B. C. (n.d.). What are the swing states in 2016? Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.politico.com/blogs/swing-states-2016-election/2016/06/what-are-the-swing-states-in-2016-list-224327
Persuasion and Propaganda
The Voters Who Gave Trump the White House. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-how-trump-won/
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR DONALD J. TRUMP. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2016, from https://www.donaldjtrump.com