Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The "Human" Approach

One rhetorical strategy that seems to be extremely successful, specifically within the presidential debates, is making connections with the audience. In doing this, a speaker is able to evoke sympathy, agreement, and support from audience members. By relating to the audience, one can break down the distant, almost dreamlike representation that comes with being a celebrity, and actively capture the support and attention of the audience. Bernie Sanders does this in a number of ways. One example is when he says he wouldn't tax 90 percent as Eisenhower did, and jokes that he is "not as much of a Socialist as Eisenhower." By poking fun at politics, he comes off as a more friendly and relatable candidate-- more "human," even, than some of his opponents. He also distinguishes himself from the other candidates by explaining how his campaign is funded by individual donors, rather than large corporations. By doing this, he takes another step away from the distant political figure, and towards the actual voters themselves. Sanders uses pathos to connect to the audience when he brings about a sense of determination and hope by again explaining the need to 'break down the big banks' and even out the distribution of wealth in America. He refers to this as a "political revolution," which alone is enough to stir up some motivation and support. In the past Sanders has also made himself a more real, "human" figure by mentioning his children and grandchildren, and how it is important to leave behind a better world for them. By connecting to the audience, and specifically members of the middle class, on so many levels, Sanders is able to gain a large amount of support.

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