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Campaign Analysis—Hillary Clinton

Introduction

The election campaign, specifically the 2016 have been formed under the competitions of ideas regarding some critical issues that have been affecting Americans. Therefore, an understanding into Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategies is essential as it helps in knowing approaches and tools she has designed towards public influential, news media, social media and the general public interest. This makes it important to analysis campaign approaches used by this candidate (Hillary Clinton) because from the one hand, 2016 campaign shows maturity than previous campaigns that other researchers have attempted to focus or analyse (Schumacher and Eskenazi, 2016; Wang and Luo, 2016). For instance, an analysis of campaign approach by this candidate is a revelation that there have been issues based followed by maturity in terms of online public sphere that other candidates like Donald Trump or Mr. Sanders have not advocated for. On the other hand, based on this aspects, there is need to go beyond what Hager (2016) have analysed in previous election so as to propose, based on Hillary Clinton’s election campaigns, element such as a measure of responsiveness, issue based politics and use of social media in quantifying a player’s influence on another given a specific election topic.

Literature Review

Literatures concerning Hillary Clinton’s campaign approaches have been widely discussed. Studies such as Chadwick and Stromer-Galley (2016) have noted that election campaign using this candidate have been characterized by influence on news media, social medial, influence on public media and the general public that have been making the voices of the campaign. What Chadwick and Stromer-Galley (2016) mean by the statement is that unlike the campaign approaches by President Barrack Obama in 2012, the current approach given her team is focused on predicting a winner based on social media and public influence rather than using key influence words such as, “It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists, as they blazed a trail toward freedom: Yes, we can. Yes, we can” or “It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can” (p. 47).

On the other hand, the mobilizing influences of social media have been explored by other scholars in order to understand the direction Hillary Clinton campaign is taking (Wang et al., 2016; Williams, 2016; Nossel, 2016). They agree that 2016 election campaigns have focused on issues but what matters are the approaches candidates take in the articulations of their issues. Specifically, these scholars have focused on the following campaign pledges to show how Hillary Clinton campaign strategies through social media have given her competitiveness; her pledged to sign Employment Non-Discrimination Act which was issued in 2015, her decision to vote for the bill that was going to save the auto industry (she did this in March 2016) and her address regarding the systematic racism in the America’s criminal justice system that she gave in January 2016. These issues shows that as far as her campaign analysis is concerned, social media have been the central point where she even tries to outplay her close political friend, Mr. Sanders (appendix 1 below exemplifies this position).

Researchers have also noted that one critical aspect that has affected 2016 campaigns is the adoption and usage of opinion influencers (Sykes, 2016; Nossel, 2016). Social media, local dailies, politicians, businessmen and women have been seen as some of the influencers that Hillary Clinton campaign has been using to tilt minds of potential voters especially in places where Donald Trump has stamped authority. Specifically, Sykes (2016) notes that the campaign team used black influencers to help Clinton champion her ideology of “Black lives matter: inequality is not inevitable” that was common between March and April 2015. Similarly, agendas such as “Get body cameras on police; tackle mass incarceration” have been put across by what scholars terms as “use of influencers.” Zhong (2016) however, disagrees with this position noting that the campaign agenda by Hillary Clinton has not been about using ‘influencers’ but competition of ideas. That is, in the candidate has not merely used politicians, influential public figures, news media and the general public but these have been successful because the candidate has focused on ‘competition of ideas.” To conceptualise this point the scholar gives an example of Republican candidate, Donald Trump who may be having influencers but some of his ideas, particularly on race and immigration may not be resonating well with general public.

There is an agreement from studies such as Gorton (2016) that as far as campaign by Hillary Clinton is concerned, there is a possibility to identify key opinion influencers playing critical role in advancement of her campaign ideologies. These influencers, for instance, the recent stance by President Barrack Obama to support her candidature have helped the public to respond to her ideas differently (Gorton, 2016). A clear area where influencers have helped shape the political ideologies of Clinton’s campaign is with regard to; her $1B per year to help states with opioid epidemic (which she brought to public attention in January 2016), debt-free college for young people (voiced in February 2016), the “We need a bridge from coal to natural gas to clean energy” (brought to public attention in 2016) and the “We need green energy jobs and to build on Paris Agreement (that was supported by President Obama in March 2016).

Findings of the Analysis

An analysis into the campaign strategies used by Hillary Clinton remains multifaceted. As a result, findings based on the literatures reviews shows divergent approaches as far as issues such as campaign context, propaganda, activism, societal approaches and platforms are concerned. First, we find that the campaign is characterized by the adoption of issue based propagandas advanced through public rallies and social media to influence people’s voting patterns. That is, appraising Hillary Clinton is found to be undeniably influenced by proximity of images, candidate information about issues, tweets, verbal video presentations, blogs and use of influencers. As a matter of fact, there is continued presence of such much content in Hillary Clinton’s campaign that has really disguised voters to believe that such is her personality. Using voter calculus and previous researchers as a methodology to analyse the campaign approaches used by Hillary Clinton, we find that the campaign involves influencers and propaganda to successfully advance their manifestos. A clear case of how such has been successful is her recent argument that federal should take over Flint water supply is state has failed to fix the problem. From the one hand, her campaign issues are propaganda but constantly deviate to activist with the main aim of doing this being the attempt to convince voters that she can make rational choice as far as cost benefit analysis is concerned. As a matter of fact, this finding is supported by scholars such as Lichtman (2016) who shows that Hillary Clinton campaign have been tilted from propaganda to activist with the aim of offering voters the most attractive analysis of self-interested gains. Most decision making models would agree that presently, the campaign approach advanced by the Democrat candidate has managed to provide voters with substantially essential information and issues that are higher with regard to personal salience compared to those of 2008 or 2012.

Discussion of the Campaign Analysis

This analysis sought to find approaches and strategies that Hillary Clinton uses for her 2016 election. In as much as the approaches these approaches may have proved essential in outwitting other candidates such Mr. Sanders or Donald Trump among others, there are a number of essential hanging challenges in her campaign strategies that should be resolved so as to make the output of responsiveness measures more important. For instance, her issues are strong and tend to drive voters towards her side however; the current model of using influencers and public sphere may not be very good especially when it comes to handling of different or mixed voices. To contextualize this point, her campaign’s sequence regarding general public tweeting regarding a topic or public issues will likely have a higher magnitude than just the presidential candidate or influencers (this would have been the case when she used public influencer to advocate for her, “We need more European contribution to defending against Russia”). Secondly, the substantial effects of different sources of campaign news or information are what are consistent with this paper analysis. While the campaign strategies for Hillary Clinton have focused on activism, information and news are becoming diverse and substantial factor when it comes to 2016 elections insinuating that the strategy the candidate (Hillary Clinton) is using should now focus on specific sources of information America rely on to get political news (see appendix 2 ).

Conclusion

The dynamics of Hillary Clinton approaches to 2016 elections have been highlighted from different perspectives. The study was concerned with campaign analysis and its course as far as Hillary Clinton candidature is concerned. We conclude, from issues such as coherence of information, the societal approaches, the targeted audience and the platform used that the campaign is activist in nature propagating common issues affecting the society. In such connectedness, the campaign has majorly used social media and public platforms in airing trending problems or societal concerns as key drivers to change public opinion or mid sets. The influences of campaign activism, increasing ideological involvement as well as the increasing need for information to stay are some of the strategies the campaign has adopted.

References

Chadwick, A., & Stromer-Galley, J. (2016). Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Parties and Election Campaigns: Party Decline or Party Renewal?.

Gorton, W. A. (2016). Manipulating Citizens: How Political Campaigns’ Use of Behavioral Social Science Harms Democracy. New Political Science, 38(1), 61-80.

Hager, R. (2016). The Amendment Diversion: How Clinton, the Democrats, and Even Sanders Distract Attention from Effective Strategies for Too Much Money in Politics by Promoting Futile Remedies-Book I: Hillary Clinton and Her Piecemeal’Pillars’. Available at SSRN.

Lichtman, A. J. (2016). The Keys to the White House: The Current Forecast for 2016. Social Education, 80(1), 26-30.

Nossel, S. (2016). Feminist Foreign Policy: Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices, A. Foreign Aff., 95, 162.

Schumacher, E., & Eskenazi, M. (2016). A Readability Analysis of Campaign Speeches from the 2016 US Presidential Campaign. arXiv preprint arXiv:1603.05739.

Sykes, P. L. (2016). The Gendered Nature of Leadership Analysis: Lessons from Women Leaders as Executives in Anglo-American Systems. The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Leadership, 219.

Wang, Y., Li, Y., & Luo, J. (2016). Deciphering the 2016 US Presidential Campaign in the Twitter Sphere: A Comparison of the Trumpists and Clintonists. arXiv preprint arXiv:1603.03097.

Wang, Y., Luo, J., Niemi, R., Li, Y., & Hu, T. (2016). Catching Fire via» Likes»: Inferring Topic Preferences of Trump Followers on Twitter. arXiv preprint arXiv:1603.03099.

Williams, V. (2016). Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and a Disrupted Electoral College: High Unfavorable Ratings, Multi-Candidate General Election Ballots, and Pursuing the ‘Art of the Deal’with Free-Agent Electors in December 2016. Multi-Candidate General Election Ballots, and Pursuing the ‘Art of the Deal’with Free-Agent Electors in December, 3.

Zhong, W. (2016). The candidates in their own words: A textual analysis of 2016 president primary debates. AEI Economic Perspectives.

Appendix 1: Campaign Advanced Through Social Media

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Appendix 2: Where Americans Get Campaign News

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