Political Communication scholar Martin Medhurst (2005) explains that presidential campaign rhetoric typically has four functions: agenda-setting, framing, character construction, and emotional resonance. Students in COMM 211 – Communication, Politics, and Citizenship – applied this conceptual overview to the announcement speeches of 2016 presidential primary candidates. Students were asked to conduct rhetorical analyses to unpack the language used by the candidates.
This page contains exemplary essays on candidates across the political spectrum. Each paper included here is notable for its strong overall argument, its use of clear, textual evidence to develop its claims, its application of Medhurst’s four functions, and its grammatical and syntactical clarity.
Medhurst, M.J. (2005). Presidential rhetoric on the campaign trail: Then and now. Conference Proceedings – National Communication Association Hope Faculty Development Institute, 23-36.
Submissions from 2016
Jeb Bush Candidate Announcement Speech Analysis, Marlisa A. Barrett
Clinton Frames Her Campaign, Anna R. Basten
Martin O'Malley Announcement Speech Analysis, Karolyn M. Erickson
Ben Carson, Zacary W. Jaconetti
Phrases, Politics, and Paul, Kathryn E. Krajewski Ms.
Chris Christie, Ryan G. Mueller
Campaign Announcement Analysis: Carly Fiorina, Kelly M. Wingerson
Submissions from 2015
Descriptive Analysis of Ted Cruz's Announcement Speech, Jacqueline A. Bast
Descriptive Analysis of Bernie Sanders Announcement Speech, Christina Culotta
Chasing the American Dream: Marco Rubio’s Candidacy Announcement, Valerie Spreeman