Submission Title

In Search of a Genre: An Analysis of Political Campaign Rhetoric Used in Swing Races in the 2018 Midterm Elections

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Communication Arts/Rhetoric

Description

This study examined one press release and one video ad from six Democratic candidates running for the United States Congress in swing states and districts in the 2018 midterm elections. The purpose of this study was to determine if the rhetoric used by Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Congress in swing races constitutes a specific genre of political communication. Generic criticism was employed as a theoretical frame to determine if there was a common genre within this situated political communication. In addition, Burke’s cluster criticism was used to provide a close reading of the texts to identify key themes in the rhetoric. The two methods suggested the possibility of the development of a genre of communication used by Democratic candidates running in swing races for the United States Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The rhetorical cluster analysis revealed that themes of justice, inclusivity, bipartisanship, people above politics, and independence were used strategically by all of the candidates included in the study, suggesting strategic thematic language use that may be employed to win over voters in swing districts in midterm elections.

The paper upon which this poster was based was written for the Senior Seminar course in Communication Arts. The paper was competitively selected for and subsequently presented at the Northwest Communication Association Conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in April 2019.

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In Search of a Genre: An Analysis of Political Campaign Rhetoric Used in Swing Races in the 2018 Midterm Elections

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

This study examined one press release and one video ad from six Democratic candidates running for the United States Congress in swing states and districts in the 2018 midterm elections. The purpose of this study was to determine if the rhetoric used by Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Congress in swing races constitutes a specific genre of political communication. Generic criticism was employed as a theoretical frame to determine if there was a common genre within this situated political communication. In addition, Burke’s cluster criticism was used to provide a close reading of the texts to identify key themes in the rhetoric. The two methods suggested the possibility of the development of a genre of communication used by Democratic candidates running in swing races for the United States Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The rhetorical cluster analysis revealed that themes of justice, inclusivity, bipartisanship, people above politics, and independence were used strategically by all of the candidates included in the study, suggesting strategic thematic language use that may be employed to win over voters in swing districts in midterm elections.

The paper upon which this poster was based was written for the Senior Seminar course in Communication Arts. The paper was competitively selected for and subsequently presented at the Northwest Communication Association Conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in April 2019.