A Political Communication Model of the Inaugural Address Speech of President-Elect Joseph R. Biden

A Critical Discourse Analysis of Communication Context, Political Rhetoric and Argumentation

Political Communication and Rhetoric

Maya Vassileva

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

E-mail: mdvasileva@uni-sofia.bg

Abstract: A major feature of the analysis impacts the model of persuasion used in presidential inaugural address speech by creating powerful rhetorical techniques, emotional and visual messages, expressing feelings and ideas that bring people together around a national cause. President-elect-Joseph R. Biden was sworn as the 46th president of America in a particular communication situation – with no predecessor attending the inauguration ceremony, as a whole sparse crowd attendance because of coronavirus pandemic and under tight security after an unprecedented assault on the Capitol. The in-depth study of political rhetoric about crucial social “America United” main appeal considers the significance of the event supported by three former presidents, dozens of official representatives and several Hollywood celebrities. The 2021 inauguration ceremony was structured on three primary communication levels – the sample of prominent political speech in a historic moment, the flamboyance inauguration performances, and the unique virtual segment – a rare joint video, recorded by former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama with delivering a message of “upholding democracy and staying civically engaged”. The hypothesis is that the verbal rhetoric of an inauguration address as well as visual and virtual performances and parades constitute nationhood, invoke the national spirit, and demonstrate a model of political communication of how to explain values in embarrassing and turbulent times.

Keywords: political communication, presidential inaugural speech address, genre features, rhetorical situation, rhetorical figures, political arguments.

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