“I Alone” vs. “Stronger Together”: Contrasting Visions in the 2016 Nomination Acceptance Addresses

  • Craig Allen Smith
  • American Behavioral Scientist, April 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0002764217707623

What is it about?

Presidential nomination acceptance addresses are uniquely pivotal moments that can provide a helpful portal into the campaigns. Acceptance speeches give major nominees an hour of uninterrupted national television time for an audience smaller than only debate audiences (that are shared with opponents and reporters). Their speeches function to consolidate the party factions cultivated by the primaries and to frame the general election campaign as dichotomous. In 2016 Donald Trump ignored establishment Republicans to argue that "I alone" can fix an American dystopia that he constructed out of collective imaginings But Hillary Clinton missed at least ten opportunities to engage and refute Trump's vision or to bolster the Democratic coalition.

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