Donald Trump – An effective speaker?

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By Audrey Kim, Staff Reporter

Through the course of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has emerged from being judged laughable to taken seriously over the past year and a half. Many have pointed to his skills as a speaker as reasons of his success. It’s worth noting, however, that Trump is almost infamous for staying off-script, sometimes improvising to the point of creating the hardest blunders on his campaign. And as any linguist can tell you, his speeches, when written down, are seen as rambling, in counterpart to the more logical and precise language of opponent Hillary Clinton. But various polls have shown Trump and Hillary in a close-lead tie, both rarely surpassing each other in a considerable amount of percentage points. So how does a former businessman and television producer on NBC become the official Republican nominee, and maybe even our future president? Here are perhaps a few clues:

  1. His bite-sized slogans

Trump utilizes slogans with phrases like make America great again, protect our borders, bring our country back, etc. These slogans are wildly unconventional and, for that reason, powerful, despite their fourth-grade level of language. In fact, simple language is more effective in communication, and often creates more of an impact within listeners. By repeating these phrases throughout his speeches, Trump reminds the people what he will do as president to supposedly restore order and glory to the United States.

  1. Timing

2016, as we all know, has been a year of great controversy, from the Black Lives Matter movement and its relation to the police force, the overwhelming issue of illegal immigration and refugees, LGBTQIA awareness, and gun control. Trump pounces on these issues and blaming the government on its inefficiency, offering supposedly simple solutions in return. It helps, of course, that he isn’t a part of politics or government. Trump’s a businessman and a television producer, and his speeches echoes with the people’s dissatisfaction at their government, now seen at an all-time low.[1]

  1. Hyperbole

Trump uses hyperbole and bravado to boost his speeches. His claims that he will force Mexico to build a wall and global warming is a theory created by the Chinese are ludicrous when taken seriously, but maybe that’s why voters adore him so much. As mentioned before, Trump takes advantage of the issues plaguing Americans’ minds and blaming the government, often offering solutions which realistically could never be achieved. It’s true that these claims are extreme exaggeration. But this over-the-top bravado does the exact opposite of shying away voters. Instead, it creates a greater sense of empathy between Trump and his followers, simply because the anger and offense which litter Trump’s speeches connect more strongly with voters. He shows that their anger over these issues are mirrored with his, and this emotion impacts them far more than the usual “understanding” of their frustration which other politicians mention.

  1. Smack-talk

And how could we forget the last, and perhaps most newsworthy, one of all? As seen in the last two debates, Trump rarely lets anything remotely challenging go, often interrupting Hillary Clinton to insert his own remarks—and rarely are they not inflammatory. Trump’s social media accounts have caused the New York Times to accumulate their own collection in “The 273 People, Places, and Things Trump Has Insulted on Twitter.” Trump turns the usual election conversation of policy and regulation into a war of identity and insults, giving a brand of hype never seen before in politics.

Trump uses these techniques to bring voters to his side, and keeping them there. And as scandalous as his campaign has been, most notably in the recent 2005 Access Hollywood video leaked, Donald Trump has managed to gain a major following, enough to propel him into the seat of the official Republican candidate, indicating his future as future president of the United States very likely. His speeches spur on a brand of sensationalism in the American public no candidate has ever done before. The question now is what Trump will do from here, and how it affects the rest of America.


Audrey Kim can be reached at [email protected]