Hateful rhetoric is nothing new to humankind, it has caused the destruction of almost entire societies in the past; however, we must not have learned much from it, since the American people decided to elect it to one of the most powerful and influential seats of power known to earth. Was this selection made out of spite, or have the American people truly latched onto the theoretically claimed ‘failed’ rhetoric of Donald J. Trump? Was Hillary’s rhetoric unsuccessful because it was not strong? Was it voter’s hate of Clinton, plus the demographic of Trump supporters, which created a perfect storm that transcended Hillary’s theoretically ‘successful’ rhetoric..? Or was Hillary’s demise the result of memes? Their creation, supposed comedic relief from impeding doom, created much more than expected.
Throughout the pre-primary campaign period and the post-primary campaign period, the hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump allowed hateful Americans to crawl out of the woodwork and voice opinions that were previously deemed wrong and hidden from society; however, Donald’s presentation of this rhetoric has allowed these verbal wrongs to be redefined and reconstituted into society. Reinstating this has also allowed Trump to break into the rhetoric of the disenfranchisement of government, which many Trump supports claim has been taken over by politicians- yes, the same people they elected to be there or did not elect because many of them were not involved in voting until Trump’s appearance.
Speaking honestly, Trump’s rhetoric is not formulated rhetoric in comparison with Clinton’s. Trump goes out on stage, notably unprepared, and says exactly what he thinks, feels, and hoping other Americans feel the same way. I believe this was successful because many had an appearance of Hillary, who was prepared, wealthy, knowledgeable, and quick witted- someone they associated with government corruption- while Donald was the complete opposite of those attributes. The only similarity, which is quite comical, is they picked someone who is even wealthier than Clinton- Donald lives in a gold encrusted penthouse, and Trump supporters are pissed about Hilary’s ten million dollar net worth. Trump supporters also condemn those in this country, who they claim are mooching off them; however, Trumps wife is one of those most successful Sugar Babies in modern history, a profession known for beautiful women mooching off wealthy men to attain financial security- the idea that a woman must go to a man to live safely beacuse he is more rational. This is something tht isnt lost on Melania and even goes as far as to set women up to be less than their male counter parts.
Another successful aspect of Trumps campaign was yet another he did not himself, or his campaign, plan- the need to dismiss a female candidate. Many Trump supporters are self-claimed Racists, Islamaphobes, anti-Fems, and Homophobes who continually express the fact that Hillary is a women, so she should not be president. Clinton’s being female makes her susceptible to fluctuations in hormone levels during menstruation, which could cause her to flip out and nuke everything. There are loads of comments like that example, which was fueled by rape, sexual assault, and other anti-women comments, that played on the idea that women are inferior and should not be in places of power- unless that place is the kitchen. This rhetoric was seen everywhere from Trump rallies to cable news, newspapers, and schools. The most important of that domain list- seen in the following articles– maybe cable news, where male newscasters, especially those employed by more conservative stations but not exclusively, have felt the need to put down, interrupt, and ‘mansplain’ where their female co-hosts should be- at home with the kids, ‘they [are] happier there.’ These ideas are appalling and even go as far as to take women off the map completely because men feel they know what is best for women, which obviously is not true since women in traditional roles rose up and fought to take the rights we wanted and deserved, giving us the Suffrage movements of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Trump’s campaign plan of saying everything under the sun until something stuck was definitely the key to his success. Yet, there are many other aspects that also aided him, the other two featured here being Hillary’s inability to disconnect herself from her past self, and memes. These two also impacted the climate of the election because voters could not get behind Hillary though she was saying everything right, and the memes created during the campaign period created both a false appearance of Hillary and alluded to the fack that she could not lose, which made people underestimate Trump. Trumps underestimation is not something spoken about directly in class; however, a post by Julia Canzoneri, in which she live tweeted the presidential debate, allowed us to see that many- especially main stream media- felt that Hillary had one because her speaking was, “sharp and stilted […] captivating.” The commenter, Buffington36, also felt, “this final debate her visual rhetoric– body language and delivery– changed — it was more passionate and less robotic than we have seen her before and in terms of her speech […leading to] a cumulative reaction to feeling more victorious.” Underestimation was laid with ideas like this because many felt that Clinton kept it together and was more successful because she was clearly presidential. This idea that she was clearly presidential in her presentation is also something the media ran with an is talked about in the following articles as well, one even asks us, “How does the media shape public perceptions?”
Above the idea of public perception goes into the ways that media shapes Clinton in the eyes of the people, which we said was misjudged; however, we did not talk about how Trumps comments shaped the medias perception which they then projected to voters. The article #ImANastyWoman, penned by Anna Pearlman, talks about this. Trump tries so desperately to give Clinton a nickname that will stick to paint her in a negative light- to make her dismissable. This idea back fires on the surface, many find it more comedic than anything but it really helps with his rhetoric to dismiss women and create this light of not being right for the job, incapable. So Hillary’s inability to convince the people of her ability to govern was two-sided because they seem to have felt she was too capable or that her capability was more of a joke rather than something we should take seriously because she is a woman and the rhetoric surrounding women is narrated by men. Something taken more seriously was the ideas of her supposed corruption. Clinton is seen as someone from the inside, she has the most experience out of any politician who has run in the last ten years, she has been a government servant for over 30 years, and has even held some of the top positions in government besides president. Her preparedness may have been her downfall because her rhetoric, though theoretically success, was the exact tell that Trump was playing on, so voters saw her as corrupt- even if she was never found committing any wrong doing. The disenfranchisement of government was not voting for Trump, but rejecting Hillary, and in turn, corruption.
The reality of corruption, however prevalent, was made more severe throughout the campaign season with the creation of memes– some archived in the Hillary Hate Dank Meme Stash. However, the use of memes from when the Stash was made till election day shifted greatly. People of the internet began to use memes to test the general public by taking Trump quotes and pasting them on Hillary photos to see if Trump supports could recognize the quotes of their beloved champion- they could not. Then the internet began to take Trump’s fascist face further by taking Hitler, and other SS leaders’, quotes and putting them on Trump memes which eventually got transferred to Hillary photos- the perfect story of miscommunication. People began to think that Hitler quotes were actually Trump’s spoken words, which they agreed with- unless is was transferred to a Hillary photo- because they could never, and would never, agree with Clinton.
Another aspect that is probably also as important as the climate created by memes, is the way that mainstream media influenced the climate. Mainstream media though this entire election had not been very good at actually reporting, in the most general sense. The media had not actually taken tally of the people, they had seen a man speaking of horrendous things and spoke against him because they did not believe that the American people could actually side with a man as terrible as Trump. It seems they were wrong and that misconception lead them to report in a way that created a conception that Hillary had to win– there was no other option; however, we know now that is not true. Many Americans, especially white ones, rather put down minorities so they can retain their privilege than to let everyone obtain the rights they deserve.
After seeing these forms of rhetoric, or lack there of, play out, it is also important to maybe even go further and touch on the rhetoric that has begun to follow after the campaign.With Trump’s well-known victory spread and the racist and fascist rising that has taken the country in the last few weeks, there is a new term that has been going around- ‘Whitelash.’ It has not been talked about in our readings, to my knowledge, but it speaks to the radicalized reason that whites may have voted for Trump is because they do not want to ‘lose’ their privilege to minorities. This is a real fear among the American people and I think it is more so now because our president for the last two terms has been African-American.