Democratic Presidential Candidate Speech Styles Part 3
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 and Part 2, click on the links to read an analysis of the first nine 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 candidate's official websites, and some specific policies, should you wish to know more.
Let's get started with part 3.
Content: He calmly and rationally spent a good portion of his speech stating some of the issues that face Americans today, and addressed the need for a "progressive and pragmatic" approach to beating Trump in 2020.
He followed it it by stating his achievements in Colorado as Governor and Mayor of Denver. This included: healthcare progress; broadband updates; providing contraception to reduce abortion rates; applying pressure on oil and gas companies to eliminate methane emissions; and the state becoming the first to set mag limits and universal background checks for gun purchases.
His national plans include universal healthcare as a right—allowing everyone to either keep their current plan, or choose another (no further information). He also wants: to rejoin the Paris Accord; to address the climate crisis with industry and non-profit organisation research support; to create affordable college options, and to expand apprenticeships options to one million a year.
His website currently does not display any details on any policy plans stated.
Style: Slow and measured. He clearly stated his background in public service, and his desire to implement change going forward. He listed his policy ideas and occasionally made clear "I" statements and reference to "when I am president" in an effort to link himself to the position in the eyes of the voters. I found his method a little lacking in charisma and energy as he referred to his notes often, and gave a stock standard 'speech to audience' eye shift throughout. While he did seem relaxed and comfortable giving the speech, he would benefit from engaging more, and demonstrating his personality. He usually speaks with such passion, and this was a concerted effort to subdue his normal style.
Rating for speech style 7/10—Clear, to the point and relaxed. Lacked charm and energy.
Overall—The optimistic businessman turn politician
Content: In a call to action based around the fight for women's rights in America, Kirsten Gillibrand used her speech to be a cheerleader for the progression of women in society, and for their voices being heard and supported by law. Pausing to state "When women lead; we get things done!"
She goes on to state her voting history and her willingness to fight for the causes she believes in. More specifically, she wants to uphold Roe V Wade and repeal the Hyde Amendment. In her first 100 days in office, she states she will pass her Family Bill of Rights going on to say "when America's families succeed, we all succeed!"
Style: Passionate and emboldened with a desire to bring women into the conversation and to allow them an equal part in building American domestic policy and law. She is a champion for the cause, and this was evident in the tone, language choices, and topics of her speech. Her delivery fit perfectly, and you can tell she means business.
Rating for speech style 7/10—Bold and blatant. Exactly what was needed.
Overall—The Fearless Fighter
Content: For a brand that preaches 'love', Marianne Williamson sure used a good portion of her speech to preach negative disappointment in the democratic political system. I was with her at the start, and quite intrigued to know more about her background after some of her statements on the emotional psyche of American voters, and how harnessing that in a positive manner will combat the fearful instincts driven by Trumps administration.
However, around the halfway mark, things went a little off the rails, and I struggled to follow her points. They bounced around in a seamless stream of disdain for the democratic party's history of not standing up for the truth and fighting corruption in politics. In a call to action, she went on to provide examples of times when the American people stood up against the government and societal norms, in order to create lasting change.
Without stating any policy agenda items or ideas, Marianne Williamson's most lasting point in her speech is for the people to do the hard work and to hold those in power to account.
Style: I found this speech to be bizarre and drastically ineffective for her campaign. Sure, we now know that she is passionate in her anger over government decisions over the last 20 years, and that she does not approve of the actions of the democratic party or individuals within it. However, if you want to know what she intends to do, you are going to need to read through her very comprehensive website and take this speech with a grain of salt.
Rating for speech style 5/10—When you are trying to sell something; in this case who you are and what you stand for, it is vital that the message matches the tone and the personality. When they are in true harmony, you strike gold and connect with your audience. This was so confusing, to the point that nothing aligned, and it felt very uncomfortable. She needs to talk policy and 'love', not anger and disappointment.
Overall: Love vs Hate?
Content: Using his policy umbrella ideologies of Freedom, Security, and Democracy, Buttigieg outlines his views on what freedom means to all Americans, and how progressive policy on women's reproductive rights, minimum wage, and marriage equality can enhance their economic and social freedom.
His views on security outline the need to address: cyber security; election security; white nationalism, and the urgent attention required to address climate disruption around the nation and the world by rejoining the Paris Agreement, and beginning discussions for a community based agreement with federal input.
On issues of democracy, he goes on to state the negative impact of gerrymandering, a lack of voting representation in all American states and territories and a desire to adjust the democratic voting system to reflect the votes of the people in a 'first past the post' popular vote, rather than the electoral college having influence.
Style: This was a very well structured speech. He hit all of his key campaign points in under five minutes, while also pausing for audience applause and effect. A hard task to say the least. There was nothing new here for Buttigieg. He listed everything he has already been talking about in the media, and did so clearly, and with a calm reassurance to the voters that he believes in what he is saying.
Rating for speech style 9/10—This was a bit of a masterclass in the way to align your speech content to your brand and your personality.
Overall: The one to beat.
Content: Focussing on the middle class as a method for winning key states against Trump in 2020, Tim Ryan briefly explains his ideas to 'rebuild America' by concentrating on jobs, economic growth, and a domestic agenda going forward.
He 'promises' to understand American workers and implement an "industrial policy," which raises the opportunity for a living wage through innovation and access to jobs. His speech was heavy on family history, and how it is linked to industrial Ohio, in an effort to connect his background to his values of working hard for the middle class, and returning them to work once again. Ryan also concluded his speech with a rather odd pandering to Americans about how they are never knocked down.
Style: While his content was specifically focused on a key agenda item of the economy and regenerating the middle class, he did not use his time wisely enough to refer to the other policy ideas he has in his campaign. This was a tailored speech to the 'Heartland of America', and lacked breadth. The conclusion was uncomfortable, and did not provide anything of worth with the minute it took from his five allotted. I would have liked to have seen more detail on policy, and less storytelling in order to show ALL Americans what he stands for in this race.
Rating for speech style 6/10—Lacking in content, ideology, and policy about the issues facing America. Delivery and tone require variation.
Overall: Rust Belt Runner