Studying they would still like to exercise

Studying
historical campaign strategies, especially that of the most recent Presidential
election, it becomes clear that the use of cultural values is a common strategy
to attract voters. This pandering to voter the emotional aspect of elections is
particularly successful among United States citizens, who culturally value
patriotism, or the strong emotional attachment to one’s country (Dahlman,
2015). In the Presidential election of 2016, with Donald Trump’s successful
campaign rhetoric of “Make America Great Again” and use of nationalism.

 

Nationalism
is defined as “loyalty and devotion to a nation,” but unlike patriotism, also
encompasses “placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests
as opposed to those of other… subcultural groups” (Leege, 2002). Thus, at its
very roots, nationalism means differentiating between members of a political
community and outsiders, and privileging the former over the latter (Serwer,
2017). Trump’s campaign fully embodies this idea and centered on policies
regarding refugees, illegal immigration, and the use of nostalgia from bygone
eras (Liu, 2007).

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When
campaigning, there are essentially two strategies utilized by political
parties. The first is to occupy the same space on an issue as the opposition.
The second is to utilize culture to sway voters and reduce the size of the
opposition (Leege, 2002). The Republican party has long been unified by traditional
values and cultural ideals, whereas Democrats are more of a coalition of
individuals with progressive ideals (Liu, 2007). This long and unwavering
history of traditionalism can be seen as a key driver in Trump’s election over
Hillary.

 

Regardless
of party affiliation, campaigners can stimulate voting by generating anxiety,
stimulating enthusiasm, or evoking disappointment. In The Study of Cultural
Differences, David Leege, asserts that, “Individuals who sense their meaning
world is shifting at a time they would still like to exercise control will feel
anxious and threatened. They will take actions… necessary to reinstate and
orderly world” (Leege, 2002). In this we see that evoking fear and
disappointment can be a powerful tool for swaying and capturing votes. Trump
successfully implemented this theory throughout his campaign. Even as early as
his announcement of running, Trump used fear- inducing rhetoric about illegal
immigrants from Mexico who were “bringing drugs. They bring crime. They’re
rapists” (Continetti, 2017). The use of nationalism can also be seen in his
solution of building a wall, but assuring US citizens that he would ensure
Mexico paid for the construction. Furthermore, at the 2016 Republican National
Convention, Trump’s speech was centered around the theme of America’s
degradation because of immigration, competition for jobs, and terrorism
(Serwer, 2017). This continual use of fear-mongering against others who
threaten the culture and values of Americans resulted in his eventual triumph over
Hillary who presented more balanced political solutions and policies that were
less polarizing and didn’t evoke as strong of emotions.  

 

In
conclusion, voters, particularly in America, often vote based on their emotions
and perception of a candidates perceived cultural values. When campaigning,
candidates thus utilize cultural values and beliefs to capture voters. This is
clearly exemplified in the 2016 Presidential election, where Donald Trump’s
narrative of “Making America Great Again” pandered to national fears of
cultural loss brought by illegal immigration, international policies that
benefited “others” over the US, terrorism, and a return to traditional values.

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