The 2016 U.S presidential race was hotly contested with Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump pitting against each other. The two presidential contenders poked into each other’s character without any hesitations. The video “Role Models” by Hillary Clinton details an advertisement, which presents some of President Trump’s comments on the campaign trail during the previous presidential elections. In the ad, President Trump’s remarks are violent, racist, and divisive. The video also presents images of young children watching President Trump’s negative comments. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to analyze the ethos, pathos, and logos used in one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign advertisements for the presidential elections.
Ethos is one of the rhetorical appeals, which is heavily used in the commercial. The main argument presented in the ad is that the American voting population should not vote for a candidate who is not a good role model to the country’s children. President Trump says, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists” (0:21). For this reason, the message contained in the ad urges individuals to reject the candidature of President Trump because he is a bad role model to the current generation of American Children as he prescribes to principles and values, which are violent and racist. As well as making comments about disabled people and trying to imitate them as if it was something to laugh at, “You got to see this guy, Aghh, I don’t know what I said. Aghh, I don’t remember!” (0:32). It shows how President Trump can be taken seriously and the fact he is trying to imitate the faces of the disabled person, makes him a person that does not respect the others.
As such, the author of the ad uses ethos in the form of Hilary Clinton to support the argument that Americans should vote for a candidate who is a good role model for children. The advertisement presents Hilary Clinton who appears to be sharing the same argument that is depicted in the ad because she calls upon individuals to make voting choices, which will be appropriate for their children and grandchildren, “Our children and grandchildren will look back at this time at the choices we are about to make” (0:41).
In addition, the author of the ad uses pathos to support and enhance the persuasiveness of the claim. The reference to children presented in the ad is one that touches on the emotions of the target audience, especially at the point where Clinton says that “we need to make sure they can be proud of us” (0:53). Every parent desire to make his or her child happy. Therefore, the reference to children and grandchildren is an aspect that hits the emotions of the target audience and endears them to the main claim of the ad. Besides, the use of visual images depicting children sitting in their bedrooms and living rooms watching television while Trump speaks “ and you can tell them to go f*** themselves” (0:09). All these negative comments are making the parents feel angry and disappointed towards President Trump. Typically, children are considered innocent, and there is a universal need to protect them. In the ad, children are seemed helpless, in terms of having good role models, and are likely to embrace negative characters if they are continuously exposed to bad role models like President Trump, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters” (0:14). The slow tone music in the background reinforces the convincing power of the ad making the audience feel that they should vote for Hillary because our children need a better future and a better leader that knows how to behave around any type of people.
Moreover, the advertisement employs logos to support and heighten the persuasiveness of the claim. To this end, the commercial’s visual images offer that the American children are continually watching the comments made by public personalities. The ad goes further to ask what kind of example the American public is going to set for children who are always watching what public figures say (0:37). The presentation of this reasoned argument touches on the intellect of individuals and causes them to agree with the advertisement’s argument. The short speech of Hillary Clinton has a great element of logic, which touches on the intellect of the target audience, particularly on the importance of making voting decisions, which will provide good role models to children. Clinton says, “our children and grandchildren will look back at this time and the choices we are about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles we will live by, and we need to make sure they can be proud of us” (0:41). In this reasoned argument, Clinton observes that the children and grandchildren of today’s generation will judge them based on the goals and principles, which they will leave by.
In conclusion, the advertisement employs appropriate use of rhetorical appeals to support the claim and elevate its persuasiveness. The author of the commercial questions the kind of values and examples, that Americans will offer to their children, particularly in reference to their voting decision in the presidential elections. The ad ends with Hillary Clinton urging people to make appropriate voting choices, which will make their young and youth or future generations appreciate their voting decisions. The use of ethos in the form of Hillary Clinton, who supports the claim, is one aspect that substantially heightens the advertisement’s convincing power. Besides, the reference to children is increasingly emotional to the target audience and causes them to agree with the central claim of the ad. Notably, the advertisement primarily employs rhetorical appeals to support its argument and enhance its persuasiveness.
- “Role Models Hillary Clinton.” Youtube, uploaded by Hillary Clinton, 14 July 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrX3Ql31URA.