Incumbent/Challenger Style Analysis of Donald Trump

| July 17, 2015
As the first step toward paper one, you should address each area below about a political communication text. A political communication text is defined for our assignments as any message in print, audio and/or video of one minute or longer. The text could serve an official function (e.g. state of the union address, presidential press conference) or an overt campaign function (e.g. political campaign advertisement). In the course catalog description, these are referred to as “administrative rhetoric” and “campaign rhetoric”, but we’ll use the concept of style to clearly note “the characteristics deal with nonverbal political behaviors as well as verbal” in chapter three (Trent, Friedenberg & Denton, 2011, p. 71). The text you choose should be considered an artifact of these behaviors by an elected official or candidate. While many of our discussions focus on presidential examples, you may consider texts from any level (local, state or federal). You may consider an entire speech, but will need to carefully choose short segments to analyze in future assignments. If you consider political advertisements (which often are 30 seconds), you should analyze two or more from the same election. For example, as part of this week’s daily links we are considering advertisements from major party candidates in the 2010 Nevada U.S. Senate election. Use the headings below for each of the four areas and briefly answer the questions under each. Do not restate the questions in your sections, but answer them in paragraph format. The entire topic assignment should be no more than two pages. 2 Text (10 points): What is the text you are going to analyze? In what media are you going to consider it? For example, if you study a speech it could be found in text (the speech itself), in audio form, in video form or as part of an interactive website. Keep in mind many texts can be found on YouTube and from other web sources. Context (10 points): What campaign or office is the context for the analysis? If it is campaign-related, when is/was election day? Is this focusing on a campaign or office at the state, local or federal level? Two Research Questions (20 points): Your analysis in paper one will focus on whether the text has elements of incumbents, challengers or a combination of both (see pages 82-115, chapter 3). Based on the “Style and Strategies of Campaigns” section by Trent, Friedenberg and Denton (2011, pp. 82-115), develop two questions you plan to answer in paper one. These are simply questions that focus on one or more of the elements of incumbent or challenger style. There are four incumbent symbolic strategy (style) elements (pp. 84-88), eleven incumbent pragmatic strategy (style) elements (pp. 88-101) and seven challenger style elements (pp. 102-111) in the Trent, Friedenberg and Denton text. These elements can be applied to political texts given or produced during a traditional campaign year or at any other time. See the worksheet below for examples and more details. 3 Two Sources (10 points): Name two journal articles, books or other sources that could be the start of a bibliography for paper one. The entries must be in APA, MLA or Chicago citation style. Articles can be found through the Communication and Mass Media Complete database (see McNairy Library web page, Finding Information, Articles & Databases, Communication & Theatre) or any other library-based databases. You can find books through a general search of any library. I’ve given you some examples of books and book chapters in the syllabus (pages two and three). The two sources requested here are in addition to our required textbooks. It is understood at this point you have not reviewed the sources, but are suggesting they will be used to complete paper one. 4 Topic Assignment 1 Worksheet: Incumbent/Challenger Style Research Questions The questions and examples below are to assist you in formulating research questions. They should not appear anywhere in your paper assignments. You should be able to answer yes to each of the five worksheet questions below before you turn in the topic assignment. 1.) Do you have a specific style element or elements mentioned in each research question? See the “Style and Strategies of Campaigns” section by Trent, Friedenberg and Denton chapter three (2011, pp. 82-115, chapter 3). There are four incumbent symbolic strategy (style) elements (pp. 84-88), eleven incumbent pragmatic strategy (style) elements (pp. 88-101) and seven challenger style elements (pp. 102-111). These elements can be applied to political texts produced during a traditional campaign year or at any other time. 2.) Is the text identified in each research question? 3.) Is the text the focus of the research question? As noted in the instructions, this is an analysis of a communication text. The course is titled Political Communication, not government policy, campaign strategy, political history or other related content areas. The focus here should be on an analysis of some text (e.g. speech, advertisements, web content). 4.) Are the questions set-off from the text in a list? 5.) Do the questions end in a question mark?

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