Clinton Vs Trump: Hope Vs Fear

Last week saw the Republican National Convention in Cleveland where Donald Trump accepted his nomination for President. It was the Democrats’ turn with the Democratic National Convention taking place in Philadelphia this week. The DNC saw a range of influential speakers including First Lady Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, Former President Bill Clinton and current President of the United States, Barack Obama. There were also a few celebrity speakers too including Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep.

The final speech was delivered by Hillary Clinton where she accepted her nomination for President of the United States and proudly took the title as the first women to be nominated by a major political party.

So the US presidential race is officially down to two: Trump Vs. Clinton. We took a look at both candidates’ convention speeches.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s speech saw her accept her nomination to be the first woman president of the United States with “humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise”. She claimed that, “When there are no glass ceilings, the sky’s the limit”.

The former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State gave a speech based on hope, while delivering a few blows to her republican opponent Donald Trump. She started with, “He spoke for 70 odd minutes – and I do mean odd,”  and “Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons”.

Donald Trump did in fact take the bait and follow Hillary’s speech with responding tweets.

“No one has worse judgement that Hillary Clinton – corruption and devastation follows her wherever she goes,” he wrote, “Hillary’s wars in the Middle East have unleashed destruction, terrorism and ISIS across the world.”

She also warned the American public by saying “many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show. Here’s the sad truth: there is no other Donald Trump. This is it.”

Clinton then took words from another former First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, to deliver a final insult to Trump, “ [Jackie] said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and constraint, but by little men, the ones moved by fear and pride.”

Criticising her opponent was not only the focus of her speech. She also reached out to disappointed Bernie Sanders supporters saying, “I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause.”

She avoided acknowledging the controversies surrounding her private email server scandal which has provoked many to question her honesty and integrity. Instead she promised to fight for “children, the disabled, blue-collar workers, women and the poor.”

Clinton’s speech was delivered at the end of what was a successful convention, which helped to unite the Sanders and Clinton supporters and mend the fractured Democratic party. The mood at the end of the convention was upbeat and festive, which was a clear contrast from the controversy caused by the Sanders supporters at the beginning of the week.

Donald Trump

Trump’s speech at last week’s RNC saw him accept his nomination to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States. Trump’s speech took a different approach from Clinton’s, using fear instead of hope to enlist supporters and votes.

Trump focused on America as a “nation imprisoned by its own rotten political establishment”. He talked about the risk of terrorists disguised as Syrian refugees and the presence of thousands of illegal immigrant “criminals”.

CNN claimed, “Trump has demonstrated a knack for channelling the nation’s mood. His convention message is tailored for a country grappling with mounting anxiety over a rash of terror attacks at home and abroad, and feeling that something is badly wrong after a spate of shootings of police officers, rising racial tensions and a globalized economy that has left many Americans behind. Trump’s speech may have hit on a message that could propel him to the presidency.” [1]

In his speech Trump suggested that only a non-politician could turn the nation around, claiming, “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why alone I can fix it.”

Trump also claimed to put an end to crime, stating, “I have a message for you all: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20 2017, safety will be restored.” He remains steadfast on his promise to build a wall, “We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the gangs and the violence and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.”

Trump also had a few words to say against Clinton saying, “Her bad instincts and her bad judgement – something pointed out by Bernie Sanders – are what caused so many of the disasters unfolding today. This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness, but Hillary’s legacy doesn’t have to be America’s legacy.”

Toneapi Comparison

So how do the opposing speeches compare?
We analysed the full speeches through our emotional analytics software, Toneapi, to discover the main emotions and themes evoked from each.

Figure 1: Clinton Toneapi Analysis



Figure 2: Trump Toneapi Analysis


Our analysis found that Clinton’s speech had a more positive tone than Trump’s with a higher Adorescore of 20. Clinton’s speech expressed more positive, high intensity emotions such as ecstasy and admiration than her opponent’s.  There were lower levels of negative emotions like loathing and rage and the speech evoked a more hopeful tone throughout.

Hillary also focused on more personal themes than Donald with ‘people’ and ‘family’ being more frequently mentioned in her address.

Trump’s speech uses a more emotional and fearful tone which resulted in a low Adorescore of just 13. The wider message of his speech is more country focused with ‘nation’, ‘law’, ‘great’ and ‘opponent’ having the most mentions throughout his speech.

However, even though Clinton’s convention speech evoked the most positive emotions, the online mentions of Clinton and Trump bring their Adorescore incredibly close, with the two opponents almost neck and neck at 32 and 33 respectively.

Pasted image at 2016_07_29 11_44 AM

Both scores have seen a substantial increase from our previous analysis, which saw Clinton with an Adorescore of 19 and Trump at -28 just last month. Trump’s incredible bounce up 61 points shows that appealing to public fear might just work in bringing in the votes as opposed to Clinton’s appeal for hope and change in the face of controversy.


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