Narratives of the presidential nominating conventions : branding the parties and candidates
After the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, both parties altered the manner in which the party nominees were chosen. This change resulted in a shift for the conventions away from choosing the party nominee to setting the nominee and party up for the coming campaign. This study investigates the way various speeches play a role in branding the parties and their nominee. By analyzing the prime time speeches for both the Republican and Democratic Parties from 1972-2016, this study found the role each genre of address played in crafting the party brand. Notably, the analysis discovered the keynote address has three subgenres (former primary opponent, former or outgoing president, and party member representing a key constituency) with each serving a different role when utilized. Primary opponents promote party unity, former or outgoing presidents discuss their legacy to indicate the nominee is the heir to that legacy, and representatives of key constituencies attack the opposition while promoting party ideals. Spousal addresses focus on promoting a family narrative. Vice Presidential Nominees focus their branding efforts on attacking the opposition. Presidential nominees discuss a leadership narrative and policy branding. The nature of the election also impacts the party branding. An incumbent president or vice president usually has the incumbent party branding themselves as proven leaders while their opposition brand themselves as the party of change. Open elections have involved the parties battling over a qualified insider against a political outsider offering change. Finally, the Democratic Party has been less stable over the years than the Republicans in their branding. Democrats have shifted from the center to more liberal multiple times in an effort to meet the perceived desires of the American voter.
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