COMM 339 -- Persuasion

Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
  Home:  418 North Sunny Lane (ph. 309-734-5431, cell 309-333-5447)

Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

Course Description Syllabus Course Notes and Handouts Course Assignments +

        political persuasion

Discussion Questions:

What functions do campaigns perform in a democracy 
2.  In what ways are current campaigns successfully performing those functions?
3.  In what ways are current campaigns failing?

 Stages of Political Candidate Campaigns



  • build org. in each region/district
  • lots of speeches to get attention/ name rec.
  • prelim polls
  • raise money


  • test fitness of candidate
  • ritual announcement speech
  • develop identity - goals, programs, etc.
  • develop identity - personal/admin style
  • determines dominate theme of camp. rhetorical agenda
  • front runners appear in media
  • media & candidate get to know each other



  • often personal as well as media
  • get "bounce" to nomination
  • avoid party split


  • source of feedback on issues to candidate
  • voters see how candidates perform
  • builds citizen involvement
  • local voters elicit promises from candidate
  • voters determine REAL from runners

 Conventions - mostly ritualistic (for TV)


  • main messages in prime time
  • special films, etc.
  • conventions legitimate candidates (not select them)


  • reaffirms the "American Way"
  • opens with theme (keynote)
  • assembles character types
  • anoints nominee
  • legitimates nominee (opponents endorse)
  • develops party unity
  • sets rhetorical agenda for camp.

 General Election


  • voters get info
  • election creates legitimacy
  • fulfills ritual expectations (Can you list some?)
  • address key issues
  • enact our values

See Incumbency Style versus Challenger Style

See Comparision of Stages -- Persuasive Campaigns versus Candidate Campaigns


last updated 4/13/2010