So the main part of my research was doing the actual analysis of the convention speeches. So without further ado I’ll just get into some examples of the analysis I’ve done.
My project was using Critical Discourse Analysis on two speeches: one from Donald Trump and one from Hillary Clinton, in order to uncover how power was established, subverted, and maintained through their language use.
Language use in presidential politics is, inherently, a negotiation of power and power structures. While all language use can be seen in this way, the implications of the presidential nominees’ language use are deep-rooted and far-reaching. Language plays a critical role in how politicians project their platform and attempt to convey their competence for the job. Researching the language of politics at the highest and most performative level can reveal systems of dominance and power that are reflected not only in the ideologies of the politicians themselves, but also in the ideologies of the people who support them. The way a politician uses language, how they buy into or reject underlying structures of dominance, can affect the way people feel toward them, either consciously or not. Analyzing how the presidential nominees in the 2016 election cycle use language to convey power and maintain, create, or subvert power structures is particularly of interest during this politically charged and nebulous time of potentially drastic change. The use of Critical Discourse Analysis can help uncover these implicit and explicit ideas of power expressed by presidential politicians, allowing for a greater understanding of the politicians’ stances.