Rhetorical Analysis Exercise: Campaign Ads

Political campaign ads are filled with rhetorical strategies and provide opportunities for practicing rhetorical analysis.

Below you will find two campaign videos: a pro-Donald Trump video and a pro-Joe Biden video. After you watch the videos (you might have to watch them a few times), write down answers to the following questions that will help you identify the rhetorical situation and analyze the rhetoric.
Pro-Trump Video

Who do you think the audience is? Who do you think Trump hopes to persuade? the elderly, people who are pro-police, Republicans, homeowners, people who live alone, people who value safety, independent/undecided voters
What do you think is the purpose of the video? (What is the video trying to accomplish?) to persuade voters to elect him and not Joe Biden
What is the video’s thesis? (In other words, what is the video’s main point?) People won’t be safe if they vote for Biden, but America will be safe with Trump.
What is a convincing example or word from the video? elderly woman calls 911 and can’t get through
What rhetorical strategy is used in this example? Pathos (emotional appeal)
What effect might this example have on the audience? It might make the audience feel worried, afraid. Because people want to feel safe, then they might view Trump as a hero who will save them and then they might vote for him.

Sample Solution