“…Rhetoric is a mode of altering reality, not by the direct application of energy to objects, but by the creation of discourse which changes reality through the mediation of thought and action.” a quote by Lloyd Bitzer that my Propaganda & Persuasion class landed on as our definition of rhetoric for the remainder of the semester.
Rhetoric is a powerful tool that can be used to sway voters in one way or the other. We have seen rhetoric at use in Trump’s 2016 election. He was able to use highly targeted data from Facebook based on his audience and was able to show his following just what they wanted to see. People tend to agree with the opinions that match their own, leading to their votes. Trump also utilized another technique of rhetoric to persuade by attempting to relate to his audience, claiming that he is not much different from most Americans, even with all of his wealth. This technique is the same technique used by Mark Antony, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” from Julius Caesar, a play by William Shakespeare.
Another instance of rhetoric in voting history would be Robert Kennedy’s speech after MLK’s Assassination in 1968. Kennedy was able to utilize the opportunity he had with MLK’s passing and related to the crowd of sorrowful people by connecting to his brother’s assassination. Kennedy was also able to use rhetoric to advocate peace against the riots happening across the country at the time. The tool at hand, rhetoric.
Robert Kennedy’s Speech – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2kWIa8wSC0