Global Fusion 2017: Clinton’s Latino Outreach in the 2016 Presidential Election

Cada año, diversas universidades organizan la conferencia Global Fusion, que en 2017 tuvo lugar en la Universidad de Ohio. En esta ocasión tuve la oportunidad de presentar parte de mi investigación doctoral, la cual es una observación etnográfica sobre la campaña que Hillary Clinton llevó a cabo para contactar con las comunidades latinas durante las elecciones presidenciales de Estados Unidos. En esta página puedes encontrar un resumen de mi ponencia, así como la presentación que utilicé durante mi exposición.

Global Fusion 2017

Global Fusion 2017

Building and Tearing Walls Down: Clinton’s Latino Outreach in the 2016 Presidential Election


The recent Presidential Elections proved to be a complex and controversial political process. Many reasons inform the unique characteristics of this electoral process, and some of them lay in the political communication realm. In that sense, this research analyzed how political communication was used during the elections to outreach the Latino community as a minority. In particular, the primary focus is to observe how a powerful agent, such as Hillary Clinton, built a bilingual communication strategy to reach Latinos.

Although Hillary Clinton lost the election, analyzing her Latino outreach campaign is highly relevant because she was the one candidate that planned, produced, and-and deployed a campaign in English and Spanish for Latinos through various media channels and platforms such as speeches in rallies, radio and television advertisements, websites, social media, email and text messages. The Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, did not produce a campaign for Latino outreach and, on the contrary, he attacked this community. In the political communication field, few investigations have studied how presidential candidates have outreached the Latino community and even less have focused on the usage of Spanish language during an electoral campaign in the United States.

Therefore, this research presents the results of textual and narrative analyses of the messages that Clinton and her team built for the Latino population—especially those in Spanish—and seeks to expand the qualitative political communication research field (Karpf, Kreiss, Nielsen, & Powers, 2015; Luhtakallio & Eliasoph, Forthcoming; Nielsen, 2014; Zoonen, 2000). The question that guided these studies is the following: What are the norms, values, symbols, and power relations embedded in the texts, audios, and videos in Spanish that Hillary Clinton and her staff produced during the 2016 United States Presidential campaigns for Latino outreach? The sample is constituted by all the Spanish content distributed through Clinton’s website, Facebook and Twitter platforms, and radio and television advertisements.

The main argument of the paper is that in these texts are embedded cultural representations about how the Democratic Party and her candidate understood the Latino community. Moreover, in these texts lay a defense about those values that were contested during the election, such as multiculturalism and diversity, as well as narratives that explain what the American dream is and who is an American in present times.

Global Fusion PPT Presentation

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