Campos, Kristina M. (2009-08). El Sueno Americano, Es Para Todos: An Analysis of the Rhetoric toward Latinos in the Presidential Campaigns of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, 1992-2000. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • This dissertation examined the presidential elections of 1992, 1996 and 2000 for the narrative tools used to persuade Latino voters. Using Walt Fisher's narrative theory, I evaluated the various parts of the American Dream myth, looking specifically at the characters and settings used in the candidate's narrative. Then, I evaluated the values in those narratives through the lens of the Plan of Delano, specifically looking for ways these candidates actually reinforced important Latino values. The new tellings of the American Dream myth valued specific characters- characters that had been blessed by the American Dream. Clinton's 1992 character had to work to gain success, but he was also blessed. George P. Bush (George W. Bush's nephew) was another character blessed by the American Dream. As a first-generation American, he represented the hope that brings many to America; the idea that their children could have opportunities the parents could not. The settings of the American Dream story were also important. These settings varied greatly-from the decrepit and desolate to the fanciful and idyllic-but they represented all the different places where the American Dream is possible. Hope, Arkansas is not a place where much hope seems to exist. But even a community as impoverished as Hope can be the birthplace of a President, because of the amazing ability of the Dream to permeate even the darkest corners of America. The barrios of the Southwest appear to be hopeless, but as Clinton's telling of the myth reminded Latinos, even people growing up in the barrios should have hope-because the American Dream can exist anywhere. These values, these characters, these settings have added to the rich rhetorical history of the American Dream myth. These presidential candidates expanded the places where that hope could reach, and the people who could be blessed by the Dream. All of this culminated in a story that Latinos could relate to, that they shared in and that rhetorically persuaded them to believe in these candidates.
  • This dissertation examined the presidential elections of 1992, 1996 and 2000 for
    the narrative tools used to persuade Latino voters. Using Walt Fisher's narrative theory,
    I evaluated the various parts of the American Dream myth, looking specifically at the
    characters and settings used in the candidate's narrative. Then, I evaluated the values in
    those narratives through the lens of the Plan of Delano, specifically looking for ways
    these candidates actually reinforced important Latino values.
    The new tellings of the American Dream myth valued specific characters-
    characters that had been blessed by the American Dream. Clinton's 1992 character had
    to work to gain success, but he was also blessed. George P. Bush (George W. Bush's
    nephew) was another character blessed by the American Dream. As a first-generation
    American, he represented the hope that brings many to America; the idea that their
    children could have opportunities the parents could not. The settings of the American Dream story were also important. These settings
    varied greatly-from the decrepit and desolate to the fanciful and idyllic-but they
    represented all the different places where the American Dream is possible.
    Hope, Arkansas is not a place where much hope seems to exist. But even a
    community as impoverished as Hope can be the birthplace of a President, because of the
    amazing ability of the Dream to permeate even the darkest corners of America. The
    barrios of the Southwest appear to be hopeless, but as Clinton's telling of the myth
    reminded Latinos, even people growing up in the barrios should have hope-because the
    American Dream can exist anywhere.
    These values, these characters, these settings have added to the rich rhetorical
    history of the American Dream myth. These presidential candidates expanded the places
    where that hope could reach, and the people who could be blessed by the Dream. All of
    this culminated in a story that Latinos could relate to, that they shared in and that
    rhetorically persuaded them to believe in these candidates.

publication date

  • August 2009