Politics has always fascinated me. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, politics is “The art or science of Government”. For me, the definition of politics is more ominous.
From where I am standing, politics is the art or science of spinning the legitimacy of the actions of an individual and/or episodes of national interest, with the intention of gaining the favour of a particular collective.
It is no secret that politicians remember their faithful with renovated vigour when an election campaign looms. Promises are made, opponents are called all sort of names and the blame for unaccomplished undertakings is placed on the opposite camp or attributed to unforeseen circumstances.
The latest and most interesting chapter on the political charade is taking place right now in The United States.
This electoral campaign has become one of the greatest box office hits. It has two main characters. The villain or baddy is impersonated by Mr Donald Trump and the all-conquering, immaculate evil basher role has been seized by Mrs Hilary Clinton. Also, there is no lack of intrigue, hidden agendas and of course money, loads of it.
At this point I have to emphasize that I am not a Donald Trump follower, neither do I follow or favour any of the other candidates. I am a spectator watching with amusement the triviality by which all candidates are more concerned with defending themselves and their past actions, some with great media help, rather than to focus on policies that will affect the people voting for them. The reality is that regardless who wins this presidential election the lives of the people in the street will not be affected dramatically.
The main objective of this paper is to show via visualizations and text analysis, how the media portrays Donald Trump as a chauvinist, racist, arrogant and deluded individual and conveniently choose not to remember or mention past actions of other candidates.
For the purpose of this exercise I decided to disregard the most colourful episodes where the main characters choose to overlook the script and went off the reservation. I did ignore, among others, Hilary’s barking speech as well as Donald’s remarks about women and abortion.
FIGURE 1.1 TRUMP.
As a sample I decided to utilize Super Tuesday’s winning speeches delivered on March 1st 2016. The reason for this arbitrary decision is very simple. Traditionally the candidates who win on this day become the official candidate for both the Democrat and Republican parties. This particular day is considered to be of the utmost importance leaving no room for mockery or flamboyant approaches and the candidates are inclined to play safe and avoid controversy.
FIGURE 2.1 CLINTON
No surprises, both candidates delivered optimistic measured speeches. However Super Tuesday saw Mr Trump break from tradition as he decided to answer questions from the press once he finished his delivery. In the meantime his main rival, Mrs Hilary Clinton, declined to interact with the press.
Nevertheless, Mr Trump’s forward attitude was given a negative connotation because it meant that he broke with the established custom. I can only wonder what would have happened if the step forward had been taken by Mrs Clinton.
Ironically, the bold efforts that “The Donald” is commanding, translate into more media coverage and attention for his persona and campaign. Obviously Mrs Clinton’s campaign cannot be pleased with this outcome.
Nevertheless visualizations 1.1 and 2.1, do not reveal with certainty the differences between candidates. The word count in Trump’s speech (1), is approximately 1250 words. That is without taking into account the Q&A session with the Press.
Clinton’s discourse (2), is somehow longer containing around 1550 words. Trump’s most used words were “going”, “we’re” and his favourite one “great”. In turn, Clinton’s more frequently used words were “America”, “barriers” and “Country”.
For me, none of what is being revealed by the visualizations makes up my mind in order to favour one candidate over the other. The rhetoric used by both is very similar.
I cannot deny the multiple incoherencies on the part of Mr Trump. He deserves the attacks and hatred that he is facing. On the other hand, his success is testimony to the validity of his argument. Just a few months ago very few gave him a chance of winning a fixed raffle – he proved them wrong.
It is fascinating to see how the media that criticises him for being a multimillionaire, his haircut, his wife and his failed enterprises keeps ignoring the voice of millions of U.S citizens that believe in his postulates.
On the other hand, it seems that in the eyes of the media, Hilary can do no wrong. Everybody from feminists to bankers to lobbyists to the establishment in general is backing her up and the presidency is there for her to take. Yet, nobody seems to remember the dodgy business, the email accounts and her un-feminist attitude when standing by her man.
In conclusion what I learned from this exercise is that in today’s world having the media on your side is what counts. Politics has a lot to do with the way that you are portrait by the media, to certain extent the content is becoming irrelevant. As seen above the rhetoric is the same. The press is the omnipotent filter that can make or break lives and destinies. If my personal opinion is of any relevance, Bernie Sanders is the less evil option, who knows.
The reader should know that I utilized VOYANT for this task. The complete data analysis can be accessed by clicking on the links bellow. Hopefully it will lead to the same conclusion.
JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA