Propaganda in Trumps Campaign
One of the biggest places we see propaganda today is in politics. It is no surprise to any of us that politicians use propaganda to get us to side with them. Propaganda uses a wide range of things to classify it as propaganda such as creating fear, looking back on happier times, using slogans, etc. Today I will be focusing on Trump's slogan used throughout his campaign and how that classifies as propaganda rather than persuasion.
The one thing that sticks in everyone’s mind throughout elections are the slogans. In Obamas campaign, the simple one-word slogan “Change” spoke volumes of what his campaign was hoping to accomplish. Trump's campaign in the 2016 election, if you have not already seen it all over shirts and car stickers, is “Make America Great Again”. This slogan can classify as propaganda rather than persuasion for many reasons. A slogan becomes propaganda because once it is repeated so many times people start to believe it. Once people started seeing and hearing this slogan everywhere America was viewed as a lesser place than before. This slogan evoked fear in people because they saw America as not being as great as it once was. The slogan used fear and nostalgia to look back on better times and made Trump seem like the person to restore that greatness we once had. This idea of evoking fear and nostalgia is a primary part of propaganda.
By using this slogan Trump made himself seem like the one person to fix this problem and make America great again. People started to believe that Trump was the only person that could fix this problem. His policies and ideas for the countries future seemed like the only way that America could become as great as we once were. Trump in this scenario was viewed as the leader and only person that could save America from the “despair” we were in. This is an example of propaganda because it makes the person in power seem like the leader.
By using the slogan “Make America Great Again” it is saying that America is not great and there is a reason for this. Throughout Trump's campaign, he brought up many reasons for why America is not as great as it used to be. One of the main things Trump brought up was immigrants. By having this slogan and voicing that one of the main problems America has is immigrants creates an in-group and out-group. The in-group would be all the American citizens who are trying to make America great while the out-group is ruining America, in Trump's eyes. Propaganda tries to create an in-group and out-group to make people fear the out-group.
The slogan “Make America Great Again” uses propaganda techniques to get us to side with Trump rather than using persuasion. We can see propaganda in this slogan by the way it evokes base emotions like fear in us. The slogan increases emotions we already feel rather than trying to persuade us and change our opinions. Persuasion uses logic or ethos and there is a lack of that in this slogan. The slogan creates an in-group and out-group instead of bringing people together. As we can see from the propaganda techniques we learned from class, there are more examples of propaganda than persuasion in this slogan.