In recent years, TV debate has become an important means of political communication in the United States, which are carried out to convincing voters the rightness of their political idea and win over the voters as part of the campaign. The 2016 presidential debate in the United States has been the most interesting part of the 2016 US presidential election and the debate about how to achieve prosperity is of concern as economy is always a key topic. Through analyzing their argument, the paper found that there is similar use of rhetorical by Hillary and Trump in the 2016 presidential debate on achieving prosperity in United States.
The focus of Hillary in answering the question is good jobs by investing more in employees, infrastructure and mass manufacturing, and high tech industry. Also, she mentioned a more fair distribution system of income, social welfare system and business environment. By contrast, Trump believed that in order to achieve prosperity, reducing taxes and stopping the jobs and factory from being stolen by other countries are two main measures.
Rhetorical situation of the two are similar. Rhetorical situation includes people, events, objects, and relationship. It decides rhetorical response. Its components are context requiring action to work as guiding principle of the situation; audience, who can make change happen; and limitations which belongs to the situation or appear in the discourse to limit the decision or change the exigences (Bitzer 1992, 4-5 ). This defines the function of rhetorical situation, constituents and components of rhetorical situation. Also, rhetorical situation’s link with rhetorical response is also examined (Bitzer 1992, 4-5 ). Rhetorical integrity depends on identification of rhetorical situation. It is key to analyze and know it before. “This rhetorical situation is comprised of any combination of persons, events, objects, and relations which requires rhetorical response” (Bitzer 1992, 4-5 ). Those two debates have basically similar rhetorical situation with same exigency, audience, and constraints as both of their remarks are made during the presidential debates and their identities are all candidate of the U.S. president. The only difference of their rhetorical situations is Trump giving his remarks and ideas after Hillary. Thus, he is supposed to say something different from Hillary. Both of them succeed but differ in invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery in terms of the canons of rhetoric. As for rhetorical appeals, they both used pathos, ethos, and logos. In the modern society, presidents or presidential candidates tend to build direct appeals to the public (Kernell, 2006, p.143). At first, their arguments are expressing their good wills to fight for the interests of the majority to show their ethical standards, which are ethos here. For example, Hillary said that “we have to build an economy…not just those at the top” to the U.S. citizens, and she mentioned that “ I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future.” Trump stresses that he is going to stop the jobs from being stolen from United States. He will have to stop the companies from leaving the United States, and with it, firing all of their people. Furthermore, Trump said “That’s gonna be a job creator, like, we haven’t seen since Ronald Regan. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch.” He referred to Ronald Regan to make his plans sounds more trustworthy. In regard of Pathos, both of them try to appeal to the audience by acknowledging their pain and sharing the same feelings. In the debate, Hilary mentioned that she have heard from so many of the United States people about the difficult choices they face and the stresses they are under. She wants to make sure people have affordable childcare and debt-free college and support people who are struggling to balance family and work. She is trying to evoking the emotion of the audience. Trump did the same thing. He talked about people concerns about losing job and Child care issue. Also, he compares other countries with United States, for example China is using United States as a piggy bank to rebuild China and many other countries are doing the same thing, some people are building the most sophisticated, some of the best plants in Mexico but not United States. Carrier air-conditioning in Indianapolis left United States to Mexico and fired 1400 people. Trump is trying to conjuring up the anxiety feeling among the audience and show empathy as well as his eagerness to change the situation. In the aspect of logo, Hilary mentioned that through making the wealthy pay their fair share and closing the corporate loopholes, people can get more benefit. An economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top will mean more jobs, good jobs with rising incomes. Research show that most of the jobs will come from small business, thus innovation and technology, clean renewable energy business would be promoted .Trump illustrate how jobs being stolen by other countries from United State by specific cases such as his friends company and Carrier air-conditioning in Indianapolis, and then he proposed that reducing taxes tremendously from 35% to 15% for companies, small and big businesses will stop that companies leaving from American.
They have similar rhetorical fallacies and the rhetorical fallacies in both debates are obvious. Fallacies are not formal mistakes in logic but instead persuasive errors in rhetoric (Womack, 2015). In the above examples of “we” to achieve pathos, the real identity of them impacts persuasion. Hilary can not feel the pain or the worry of the audience, she herself does not need affordable childcare and debt-free college. Trump himself also do not have to worry about losing jobs. Hillary is one of the top and Trump is a millionaire who will not be afraid of losing jobs.
There is rhetorical integrity or quality of those arguments. The listing of a series of economical measures and policies to achieve prosperity by Hillary and Trump is reflecting a casual relationship. According to the rhetoric theory, rhetoric reflects political legitimacy and shows the authority he or she expect to possess (Holian, 2007, p.179). They carry out persuasion through rhetorical means, and reconstructing the image, which is important to presidential candidates. A good image or positive rhetorical personality is at stake in the success of an individual or institution. According to Thompson, the large use of ‘causal relationship” in various discussion of economical matters is out of moral and ethical need to find the reason of a series of poor performance of economical issues. In addition to moral and ethical need, ‘causal relationship” can also be widely used in other contexts as well (Thompson 1993, 47). Thompson argues that causality is an ethic of morality as it is an rhetorical category in the daily debate on social and economic matters to account for and attribute blame of economical bad performance after presenting the fact that it is mentioned frequently in economical measures (Beason 2001, 34). The listing of a series of economical measures and policies to achieve prosperity by Hillary and Trump is reflecting a casual relationship. But it has rhetorical implication as well. “causality is also a rhetorical category in these areas, as well as in everyday debate about social and economic matters”(Thompson 1993, 47). It shows that their use of ‘causal relationship” in the discussion of economical matters is showing rhetorical integrity or quality of those arguments as they are about moral and ethical need to find the reason of a series of poor performance of economical issues.
Through analyzing their argument, the paper found that there is similar use of rhetorical by Hillary and Trump in the 2016 presidential debate on achieving prosperity in United States. The first similarity lies in the rhetorical situation. hose two debates have basically similar rhetorical situation with same exigency, audience, and constraints as both of their remarks are made during the presidential debates and their identities are all candidate of the U.S. president. Hillary and trump also shares the same rhetorical appeals, they both used pathos, ethos, and logos. Their arguments are expressing their good wills to fight for the interests of the majority to show their ethical standards, which are ethos. In regard of Pathos, both of them try to appeal to the audience by acknowledging their pain and sharing the same feelings. Hilary is trying to evoking the emotion of the audience. Trump is trying to conjuring up the anxiety feeling among the audience and show empathy as well as his eagerness to change the situation. In the part of logo, they both use statistics, evidence and research result to support their argument. They have similar rhetorical fallacies in both debates because they actually can not feel the pain of the audience. While they both have rhetorical integrity or quality of those arguments for the listing of a series of economical measures and policies to achieve prosperity by Hillary and Trump is reflecting a casual relationship.
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Womack, A. M. (2015). From Logic to Rhetoric: A Contextualized Pedagogy for Fallacies. Composition Forum (Vol.32). Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition.
Bitzer, L. F. (1992). The rhetorical situation. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 25(1), 1-14.
Thompson, G. F. (1993). Causality in economics: rhetorical ethic or positivist empiric. Quality & Quantity, 27(1), 47-71.