A Content Analysis of Charismatic Rhetoric During the 2016 Presidential Election Campaign Cycle
Copyright (c) 2019 Author & JLM
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The 2016 presidential election provided a timely opportunity to study the relationship between gender and charismatic rhetoric. Using content analysis to evaluate campaign speeches and debates delivered by Hillary Clinton (n=40) and Donald Trump (n=56) in post-party conventions and pre-election speeches during the 2016 presidential election cycle, we focused on the charismatic rhetoric constructs that are stereotypically communal, agentic and neutral. Overall, results indicated that the female candidate, Hillary Clinton, was more likely to use the communal constructs of similarity to followers’ (MD=27.00) and followers’ worth (MD=305.11). Whereas the male candidate, Donald Trump, was more likely to be associated with the agentic construct of action (MD=73.71). It was noted that both candidates used significantly more language relating to communal constructs than both agentic and neutral. The research helped to provide a better understanding of the theoretical framework of gender and charisma and also provided a practical understanding of how men and women can, should, and could communicate differently in elections. A shift from using words focusing on self (I, me, my) towards words focusing on community (us, we, our) might be useful for all candidates.
- American Presidency Project. (2016). 2016 Presidential Election Doc- uments. Retrieved from: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/2016_elec- tion.php.
- Bass, B. (1990). Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Re- search and Managerial Applications. New York: Free Press.
- Bauer, M. W. (2000). Classical Content Analysis: A Review, In: M. W. Bauer, and G. Gaskell (eds.). (2000). Qualitative Researching with Text, Image and Sound. London: Sage Publication: pp. 131–151.
- Bligh, M. C., and J. C. Kohles, (2009). “The Enduring Allure of Cha- risma: How Barack Obama Won the Historic 2008 Presidential Elec- tion.” The Leadership Quarterly, 20, pp. 483–492.
- Bligh, M. C., J. C. Kohles, and J. R. Meindl. (2004). “Charisma Under Crisis: Presidential Leadership, Rhetoric, and Media Responses Be- fore and After the September 11th Terrorist Attacks.” The Leadership Quarterly, 15, pp. 211–239.
- Bligh, M., J. Merolla, J. R. Schroedel, and R. Gonzalez. (2010). “Find- ing Her Voice: Hillary Clinton’s Rhetoric in the 2008 Presidential Campaign.” Women’s Studies, 39(8), pp. 823–850.
- Chiang, C., and B. Knight. (2011). “Media Bias and Influence: Ev- idence from Newspaper Endorsements.” Review of Economic Stud- ies, 78(3), pp. 795–820.
- Conger, J. (1991). “Inspiring Others: The Language of Leadership.” Academy of Management Executive, 5(2), pp. 31–45.
- Conger, J. A., and R. N. Kanungo. (1987). “Toward a Behavioral The- ory of Charismatic Leadership in Organizational Settings.” Academy of Management Review, 12(4), pp. 637–647.
- Cutler, F. (2002). “The Simplest Short-cut of All: Voter-Candidate Socio-Demographic Similarity and Electoral Choice.” Journal of Pol- itics, 2(64), pp. 466–490.
- Eagly, A. H., and L. L. Carli. (2007). Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders. Boston: Harvard Business Pub- lishing.
- Fiol, C. M., Harris, D., and R. House. (1999). “Charismatic Leader- ship: Strategies for Effecting Social Change.” The Leadership Quarterly, 10(6), pp. 499–482.
- Fiske, S. T. (1998). Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination, in: D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, G. Lindzey, D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, and G. Lindzey (eds.). (1998). The Handbook of Social Psychology, vols. 1-2. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 357–411.
- Fiske, S. T., J. Xu, A. C. Cuddy, and P. Glick. (1999). “(Dis)respecting Versus Disliking: Status and Interdependence Predict Ambivalent Stereotypes of Competence and Warmth.” Journal of Social Issues, 55(3), pp. 473–491.
- Guba, E. G. (1981). “Criteria for Assessing the Trustworthiness of Naturalistic Inquires.” Educational Communication and Technology Journal, 29, pp. 75–91.
- Halmari, H. (2008). “On the Language of the Clinton-Dole Presiden- tial Campaign Debates: General Tendencies and Successful Strate- gies.” Journal of Language & Politics, 7(2), pp. 247–270.
- Hart, R. (2013). Diction 7.0: The Text Analysis Program. Thousand Oaks: Scolari/Sage.
- Hopkins, P. (2017). A Glossary of Christian Terminology. Retrieved from: http://www.mmiweb.org.uk/publications/glossary/glossaries/ xtianglos.html.
- House, R. J. (1976). A 1976 Theory of Charismatic Leadership. Work- ing Paper Series 76-06.
- House, R., W.D. Spangler, and J. Woycke. (1991). “Personality and Charisma in the U.S. Presidency: A Psychological Theory of Leader Effectiveness.” Administration Science Quarterly, 3(9), pp. 364–396.
- Huddy, L. and N. Terkildsen. (1993). “Gender Stereotypes and the Perceptions of Male and Female Candidates.” American Journal of Political Science, 31(1), pp. 119–147.
- Kurtzleben, D. (2016). “The Most ‘Unprecedented’ Election Ever? 65 Ways It Has Been.” National Public Radio. Retrieved from: http://npr. org.
- Pillai, R., and E. A. Willems. (1998) “Does Leadership Matter in the Political Arena? Voter Perceptions of Candidates’ Transformational and Charismatic Leadership in the 1996 U.S. Presidential Vote.” The Leadership Quarterly, 9, pp. 397–416.
- Pillai, R., E. A. Williams, K. B. Lowe, and D. I. Jung. (2003) “Person- ality, Transformational Leadership, Trust, and the 2000 U.S. Presi- dential Vote.” The Leadership Quarterly, 14, pp. 161–192.
- Schroedel, J., M. Bligh, J. Merolla, and R. Gonzalez. (2013). “Charis- matic Rhetoric in the 2008 Presidential Campaign: Commonalities and Differences.” Presidential Studies Quarterly, 43(1), pp. 101-128.
- Shamir, B. M. (1995). “Social Distance and Charisma: Theoretical Notes and an Exploratory Study.” Leadership Quarterly, 6(1), pp. 19–47.
- Shamir, B., M. B. Arthur, and R. J. House. (1994). “The Rhetoric of Charismatic Leadership: A Theoretical Extension, a Case Study, and Implications for Research.” The Leadership Quarterly, 5(1), pp. 25–42.
- Shamir, B., R. J. House, and M. B. Arthur. (1993). “The Motivational Effects of Charismatic Leadership: A Self-Concept Based Theory.” Organization Science, 4(4), pp. 577–594.
- Shenton, A. K. (2004). “Strategies For Ensuring Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research Projects.” Education for Information, 22, pp. 23–75.
- Thomas, S. (1997). “Why Gender Matters: The Perceptions of Wom- en Officeholders.” Women and Politics, 17(1), pp. 27–53.
- Vercoe, M., R. Gonzalez, and J. R. Schroedel. (2014). Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Case Study in the Rhetoric of Female Political Figures, in: S. Thomas and C. Wilcox (2014). (eds.). Women and Elective Office: Past, Present and Future. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 80–96.
- Vocabulary University. (2017). Patriotism Vocabulary Word List. Retrieved from: https://myvocabulary.com/word-list/patriotism-vo- cabulary/.
- Weber, R. P. (1985). Basic Content Analysis. Beverly Hills: Sage Pub- lications.
- Weber, M., and A. M. Henderson. (1947). The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. New York: Oxford University Press.