Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Three Stooges: Trump, Palin and Pathos

This past week, Trump’s campaign enjoyed exceeding attention with the endorsement of former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. No one need be reminded of Palin’s antics and the phrase most often associated with her: “I can see Russia from my house” and with her endorsement for presidential candidate Donald Trump, she continues to make headlines. Trump and her seem like the perfect duo, and with good reason. While oftentimes they fail to make little sense and/or barely scratch the surface of an important issue, they use an unparalleled appeal to emotion that sways the listeners in their direction.

After a short introduction from Trump, Palin walked onto the stage with the utmost confidence and began her speech with Trump slogan, “Are you ready to make America great again?” followed by loud cheers from the crowd. She then continues to rile up the crowd by expressing her appreciation for hard working Americans, “you hard working Iowa rock and rollers, and holy-rollers, all of you who work so hard, you full time moms, you with the hands that rock the cradle, you all make the world go round, and now our cause is one.” While it may seem like a long list, Palin effectively utilizes pathos by making the listeners feel wholly included in the process of Trump’s campaign.

While Trump stands admiringly in the background, mimicking Palin’s words with sly winks and gestures, Palin continues to talk about what she perceives as holes in America’s foreign policy, especially the recent capture of sailors in Iran. She vehemently condemns the current government for apologizing and then bending over and saying “thank you, enemy. We are ready for a change. We are ready, and our troops deserve the best.” Again, Palin uses an appeal to pathos, using a strong tone and playing on the fears of the listeners when it comes to foreign policy. She continues with this appeal when she boldly shouts, “he is from the private sector, not a politician, can I get a hallelujah?” The crowd then answers her call with a resounding “Hallelujah.” Here, Palin appeals to the listener’s emotion of want of change and discontent with candidates that are from inside Washington.

Her speech reaches its climax, however, when Palin shouts, “Are you ready for a commander in chief who will let our warriors do their jobs and go kick ISIS’ A**?” Followed by a resonating cheer from the audience, Palin again appeals to the fears that many Americans hold. Additionally she appeals to American’s pride. Therefore, while what Palin says may at times sound nonsensical, her messages still reverberate with emotion and continue to capture many of the American people.


  1. A brilliant analysis and portrayal of the whole interaction between Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, which really brings into light the fact that hard facts are hardly evident in this (or any) of Trump's speeches. I'm not sure how long Trump's running will last if he's only running on pathos to appeal to voters.

  2. Great use of Palin's quotes in your writing, I thought it was very effective to get your point across. If you added a part on the lack of logos and ethos I think it would help your argument even more.

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  4. Looking through all of the blogs posts on here, it seems like a lot of us are criticizing Trump (and Palin) for playing to pathos while effectively making no actual arguments. Me and Ella both noticed similar things in our rhetorical analyses. We also all managed to pick out different aspects of Trump's platform running off people's fears, revealing just how much he's using emotions to run for president.