One of most influential moments in 2016 was the United States Presidential Election. Donald Trump entered the run for President of the United States in 2016 as a part of the Republican party. In the Republican primaries, Trump beat out the other 17 campaigners, which is the largest group in American history. His concerns as a campaigner revealed around illegal immigrants, offshore American employment, debt and ISIL. The unpredicted outcome of Donald Trump becoming the 45th president not only shocked Americans but those all around the world as he secured 304 of the possible 538 electoral votes.
Despite campaigners in previous years, Donald Trump was known for his behaviour and infamous remarks on world politics and minorities through his brusque and inarticulate tone. Otherwise, he was known for turning every political question into an opportunity to express his own nationalistic, populist or perfectionist views for the nation.
Presidential campaigning began in early 2016 and Trump took the reigns of social media everywhere; mainly Twitter. In the early stages, Trump sold himself to the American voting audience. As a potential leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world, he used his language to sell himself and to sell himself as the solution to all the issues of the American public.
Compared to the presidents before him, Trump excelled in the area of self-referential rhetoric and hubris. This infographic, created by news website, The Conversation, shows that during his campaign, he used the words “I” and “me” more than any of the 12 presidents that came before him.
It was also discovered by Jacques Savoy, lead author of a paper that examined the rhetoric of the 2016 presidential candidates, that during his time campaigning, it is seen that the most used word is “I”, excluding the word “the”, and Trump is the only campaigner that has this personal pronoun in the top five most used words.
In a presidential debate, Donald Trump was asked about what he thinks of the single payer health care. His first response is to convey is own opinion to the audience with the response “First off, I believe that our families matter”. Linguist Jennifer Sclafani, of Georgetown University, explains that Trump reverts immediately to the use of the personal pronoun to suggest his own opinion, whether he is or is not trying to divert the topic of conversation. But since when did inclusiveness stop winning the vote of a country? When did “we” and “our” stop unifying a nation against a common cause?
In the beginning stages of his campaign, Trump also presented himself as the one solution to global issues. Through victimising those of America, Donald Trump was able to present himself as the “savior” to the enemies of their country.
In a presidential debate with former front runner, Hilary Clinton, Trump remarked on the entry of illegal immigrants into America, a highly controversial topic amongst American voters. Trump vowed to protect those who are concerned for the level of violence within America against their own police officers. Trump, after installing fear in his audience responds with a personal remark of “I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country”. Trump, portrayed himself as the only solution to a wide spread global security issue, telling potential voters of his “power” to “Make America Great Again”. He also accentuates the statements further through his excessive use of hyperboles. At a later presidential debate, Trump drew attention to the relationship between the United States and their allies throughout the Middle East describing it as “the greatest mess anyone has ever seen”. As a leader, he not only did he emphasise the work of previous presidents as a “mess” but exaggerates the global issue.
Trump’s hubris further allows him to endorse himself as he constantly uses rhetoric devices asking the audience to trust or listen to him. Some of his most used phrases include “believe me” and “let me tell you” further allowing Trump to sell himself to the nation of American voters.
Although, during the early hours of November 9th 2016, Donald Trump was announced as the President of the United States of America. At the same time that America received a new president, Donald Trump eliminated the hubris and overuse of the personal pronouns and his campaign switched from “me” to “we”.
Donald Trump’s victory speech Throughout his victory speech, he discussed his hopeful goals for the nation and in a 114 excerpt, the word “we” was used 114 times. The use of anaphora of “we will” highlighted Trump’s goal as a president; to broaden ideas from “me” to “we” and to switch froths previous negative tone to a new aspirational and uniting tone. Unlike before, Trump highlights and accentuates the forward movements of the nation and ignores the past successes and failures of those who came before him.
In this inauguration speech on January 20th 2017, Trump continues to attempt to unify the country. A key element of Trump’s inauguration speech was to collectively speak to the people of America. He noted that “what truly matters is not which party control our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.” Here, not only does President Trump appeal to the member of his own party, but the member of Clinton’s party as well, advising them that Trump will focus on and pursuit at becoming a man of the people.
Trump’s tone continues to placate the nation through his transitioned tone. The utilisation of the “positive” tone allows Trump as the new president of America to bring forward the dangers posed to the nation and undertake the task of protecting the people. He reminds them that “there should be no fear. We are protected, and we will always be protected.”