Democratic Presidential Candidate Speech Styles Part 2
What's their message, and how do they stack up against the rest in just 5 minutes?
If you haven't already read Democratic Presidential Candidate Speech Styles Part 1, click on the link to read an analysis of the first four candidates from Iowa's political speed dating rounds.
This series looks at what stood out to me the most, and how they decided to best use their five minutes. Tone, body language, vocabulary, charisma, these are the things that make or break a quick, and sometimes first impression.
Using my experience as a teacher of Oracy, and my passion for American politics, I will break down each speech into two categories: Style and Content, and follow it up with an overall rating out of ten. I have also provided a link to each of the candidates official websites, and some specific policies, should you wish to know more.
Let's get started with part 2.
Content: Bill de Blasio starts his speech with what I like to call some good old fashion pandering to the audience. Mix that in with some fake enthusiasm for being there, and it all looks very typical.
Focusing on the "working people of America," he goes on to state the need for those with mental health conditions to be able to get access to the services they require, and explaining how his wife has been championing the cause for many years.
His final and main talking point delves into the issue of disparity of wealth and how it's used in American society. With New York as his case study, he goes on to state that money can be invested into the people. Examples include education, by making Pre-K free, providing paid sick days to NY workers, and guaranteeing healthcare for all.
Style: This screamed typical politician. He has been doing this for a number of years, and it shows. I was bored, and had to re-watch it a number of times to concentrate on the content. Nothing new, nothing exciting, just politics as usual.
Rating for speech style 6/10—Using the podium to stand tall and glance around the room, he looked like he'd done it a million times before and probably had. There is nothing overly engaging about him, and yet nothing distracting. It is what it is.
Content: Choice of language is equally as important as the delivery of those words in a speech. I found it intriguing that John Delaney chose to make all his statements using "we need a president who will..." invest in education, find solutions to climate change, reform the immigration system, investing in small communities, and understanding change from technology. Choosing not to make this personal is an interesting perspective to take.
The second half of his speech was a tidal wave of statements on universal healthcare, not to mention nine other issues, which were rolled into a bizarre pitch about creating an idealistic 'Democratic Coalition," which listened to all sides and worked on policy on countless issues.
Style: Taking two minutes to reach his first clear policy point is a real example of poor use of time. His statements were all over the place, and nothing really meant anything, connected, or strongly set up his policy goals. However, he really let loose in the second half of his speech. He was clear and concise with a vision for what he wants the party, and the presidency to become, however he did not use a single 'I' statement. He didn't sell himself to the voters, instead, choosing to be objective about party position and role. This is a very different approach to take in a short speech designed to sell who you are to the voters.
Rating for speech style 7/10—Not your usual speech, however his delivery was on point. He looks VERY confident behind a podium, his engagement with the room looked easy, and his hand gestures emphasised his points without being distracting. Poor start but finished strong.
He doesn't scream president, but he does seem like a vice presidential candidate who can tow a party line, and be a supportive surrogate mouth piece.
Content: Spending the first half of his speech yelling to the crowd about rejecting Trump, and making sure this election sends a message was an interesting way to begin. However, his poli-sci statement on rural community voting history struck a chord, and I found this to be bold and to the point.
Bullock's background on campaign finance reform in Montana was also very interesting. He spoke with passion and disdain for the way money has been corrupting political voice and campaign equality for years. He also referenced the legislative measures taken in Montana as an attempt to push back against high profile donors like the Koch brothers.
Style: He spent most of the speech yelling and not utilising the microphone appropriately. I found this jarring, and at times overbearing. He would benefit from raising the mic higher, standing tall, and relaxing his voice in order to allow his key points to resonate when he demonstrates passion and fire in his statements. He needs a second gear.
Rating for speech style 5/10—Bullock needs to demonstrate a calmer approach, and work on connecting with the audience more, by adjusting tone and non verbal elements of speaking.
Overall—The Angry Attorney
Content: Elizabeth Warren is a very different candidate. Not only does she not adhere to standing behind the podium, but she also talks like she's just having a conversation with anyone. Her key policy point aims to Tax the top 1/10 of the top 1% of earners in America to clear the student loan debt of 43 million Americans. This would also provide free Pre-K education, and create 1.2 million manufacturing jobs to build housing and infrastructure. Her climate change plans are laid out, as well as her plans to protect a woman's right to choose.
She goes on to state that her campaign is built from the ground up with a large grassroots support base that she takes care to feed into, rather than spend her time with large corporate donors. Her policy proposals are all geared towards 'making the government work for all Americans, and not just the wealthy.
Style: Warren's presidential pitch has the ability to be relaxed and simple, because the work has already been put into everything she states. If you go to her website, the policy details are already laid out. She has the benefit of coming across as someone who isn't just talking about creating these things, but has actually already done them, and because of this she knows what she is doing, and stands 100 percent behind it.
Rating for speech style 8/10—She is not the most polished political speaker, nor the most elegant or poetic, however, her actions and intentions are undeniable, and her talking points are prominent. It is refreshing to see a candidate say what they mean, and mean what they say. She has it in spades.
Overall—The Transparent Policy Preacher
Content: Amy Klobuchar's main policy issues were around the idea of bridging the gap between urban and rural areas across America, and to invest in childcare, housing, infrastructure, and reforming education. She furthermore went on to encourage unions to be strong in order to support the economy, and that a fight is required to implement a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Her speech concluded with a review of the prominent people led movements of revolt and protest over the actions of the current administration, and how these events had the power to implement real change and have a lasting impact. This implied she would like to see more of this, and that her campaign wants to be a part of that movement.
Style: Unfortunately her political voice is not yet well-rounded enough to carry momentous weight in her statements. Often her points require more time for audience uptake, and she skips right on by the moment. I would like to see her slow down her speech pace, and let it flow more. She clearly has a lot to say, but her points just don't hit the mark yet, as it feels like she is trying to convince us.
Rating for speech style 6/10—Too fast, too much time on family background stories, and attempts at humour in the beginning, which would have been better spent on giving over more time to speak on the issues with more detail.
Overall—The Rapid Fire Convincer