The 2016 Stump Speeches: Introducing the Series

One benefit of living in New Hampshire is the opportunity to listen to presidential candidates unfiltered by the national media. It wasn’t until I arrived here in 1996 that I realized just how distorting that filter can be: Early in each cycle, the press corps decides on a narrative for each candidate, and from there on it’s very hard for any other message to get through.

For example, in 2003 Howard Dean was the anti-war candidate. That’s what I expected to hear when I went to see him, and when he instead talked about a wide range of issues, I thought he must be making a real effort to broaden his appeal. But when I read the press coverage the next morning, it only mentioned the anti-war parts of his speech. If I hadn’t been there, I would have thought the anti-war candidate gave another anti-war speech. In fact, I eventually discovered, Dean had given his standard stump speech, which had always been about a wide range of issues. It just never got covered that way.

In the same campaign, I listened to John Kerry and blogged about his talk, not realizing that I had totally ignored what became the mainstream-media story: Kerry calling for “regime change in the United States“. If you were there, it was a throw-away line in an otherwise serious talk about where America was heading and where it needed to go. If you weren’t there, it was the only line you heard.

Ever since, I’ve tried to listen to as many candidates’ stump speeches as I can. Often they contain a lot of slanted statistics and mis-stated facts — which are instructive in their own way — but they also constitute a candidate’s best answer to the fundamental question of any presidential campaign: Where does America need to go and why am I the person to lead us there?

It’s important not to lose sight of that, or to get lost in all the clever remarks and wardrobe choices and inside-baseball strategizing. Where does this candidate think America needs to go and why is s/he the one to lead us there?

Fortunately, in the YouTube era you don’t have to live in New Hampshire or Iowa to hear a stump speech. So in this series I’m going to link to videos and/or transcripts of stump speeches of all the major candidates as they start campaigning, and I’m going to take them seriously. I’ll fact-check, pull out larger themes, compare to other candidate’s speeches, and think about the parts of the picture I think are being left out.

Watch the speeches with me and add your comments. I’m going to start later today with Ted Cruz’s Liberty University speech, and I plan to update this post throughout the year as more candidates announce and more stump speeches become available.


Speeches discussed so far: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders (plus Sanders’ Liberty University speech), Rick Santorum, Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Saad  On August 5, 2015 at 1:05 am

    You might find this useful. The goal is to have all speeches from 2016 Presidential campaign fully curated. This will help with watching and sharing soecific parts of the speech. We are using ClipMine player for this purpose.

    http://www.campaign2016speeches.com
    Please share feedback.

    Saad

Trackbacks

  • […] became the first major Republican to announce his presidential candidacy. As I explained in the introduction to this series, I don’t think the mainstream media takes candidate stump speeches seriously enough: In them, […]

  • By Sincere Beliefs | The Weekly Sift on April 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    […] week’s featured posts are “The 2016 Stump Speeches: Introducing the Series“, “The 2016 Stump Speeches: Ted Cruz“, and “Religious Freedom: […]

  • […] [This is part of a series of articles on the speeches of 2016 presidential candidates. The overall vision of the series and links to the other articles can be found here.] […]

  • […] far in the 2016 cycle, the announcement speeches of all the Republican presidential candidates have centered on the next […]

  • […] [This is part of a series of articles on the speeches of 2016 presidential candidates. The overall vision of the series and links to the other articles can be found here.] […]

  • By Sure Signs | The Weekly Sift on May 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

    […] it will take some time for me to add these candidates to my 2016 speech series. I do have a snap reaction to Carson: I’m not sure he understands his role in the Republican […]

  • […] [This is part of a series of articles on the speeches of 2016 presidential candidates. The overall vision of the series and links to the other articles can be found here.] […]

  • By Keeping it Real | The Weekly Sift on June 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    […] week I neglected to cover all the new presidential candidates, and it will be a while before my 2016 Stump Speech Series can catch up. The new announcements include Democrats Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee; […]

  • […] [This is part of a series of articles on the speeches of 2016 presidential candidates. The overall vision of the series and links to the other articles can be found here.] […]

  • By Perhaps Mentally Ill | The Weekly Sift on June 22, 2015 at 10:00 am

    […] get to his speech eventually in my 2016 series, probably after I do Hillary’s, but my immediate reaction is surprise at how little is in […]

  • By The Monday Morning Teaser | The Weekly Sift on July 27, 2015 at 7:03 am

    […] some of you have noticed, the 2016 Stump Speeches series has stalled. The reason is simple: Next up was Hillary Clinton, and that article turned into […]

  • […] is part of my series: The 2016 Stump Speeches.] Hillary Clinton’s candidacy presents a unique challenge. As a presidential campaign begins, […]

  • By Inexpensive Indulgences | The Weekly Sift on August 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

    […] day after posting the Hillary Clinton edition of my 2016 series, I got to see her do a town hall meeting in a school gym in Nashua (a moderate walk from where I […]

  • By The Monday Morning Teaser | The Weekly Sift on September 14, 2015 at 7:05 am

    […] week the Sift’s 2016 speech series gets to Ben Carson, who might be the most interesting of the Republican candidates. Without much […]

  • By The 2016 Stump Speeches: Ben Carson | The Weekly Sift on September 14, 2015 at 9:05 am

    […] [This article is part of a series on the speeches of 2016 presidential candidates.] […]

  • By Invoking 9-11 | The Weekly Sift on September 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    […] week’s featured post continues the 2016 Stump Speech Series with Ben […]

  • […] article is part of a series on the speeches of 2016 presidential candidates. A previous Bernie Sanders speech was discussed […]

  • […] And although I resisted that temptation as long as I could, I’ve been writing about it since the spring. So I think it’s time to take a step back and assess both how the campaign is going and how […]

  • […] when I wrote my introduction to the Republican primary process. Shortly afterwards, I started my 2016 Stump Speeches series, which was intended to focus on each candidate’s implicit or explicit answer to the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: