Communication Is A Vital Weapon Of American Politics

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Communication is a vital weapon in American politics. Our leaders have won and lost our favor with organized speech since before the signing of the declaration of independence. With a well written speech, and a practiced delivery, one man can change the views of our entire country. No one has done this more successfully than Ronald Reagan. When Ronald Reagan gave the televised speech A Time for Choosing for the Barry Goldwater Campaign in 1964, he changed the way that American campaign speeches would be given forever. According to critics, his performance is “the most effective” of its kind, prompting comparisons to William Jennings Bryan as a great American speaker and earning him the title of “The Great Communicator.” Despite the wide acclaim, the speech did not work as Goldwater lost the election by a cavernous margin. So, why was his speech considered a success if the candidate it was supposed to bolster did not even win the election? While many explanations are offered about the success of this speech by scholars, this paper will focus on the most widely supported school of thought, “The Teflon President”. More formally, this paper will argue that Reagan solidifies his identity as “The Great Communicator” during his A Time for Choosing speech, by using unprecedented rhetorical strategies in order to create and unify an audience around his new conservative populism. This paper will first provide historical context for the speech, then the paper will address the
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