President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama may seem like political polar opposites, but their rhetoric has far more in common than you would think, according to a new analysis of their speeches.
Two University of Minnesota professors took Trump’s “more substantial speeches,” defined for the analysis as 500 words or longer, and compared them with a database of presidential speeches that were gathered based on the same guidelines.
Glenn Beck discussed the study on Thursday’s “The Glenn Beck Radio Program” and pointed out that both liberals and conservatives should notice similarities between the two presidents. People on the left get upset if Obama is compared to Trump, while Trump supporters feel the same with respect to Obama.
“’How dare you?’ Both sides, locked into it,” Glenn said.
The professors ran the speeches through Diction, a content analysis computer program that holds 33 dictionaries specializing in political speech. Diction searched for words from the political dictionaries and calculated the percentage that those particular words represented in a typical speech sample.
Obama and Trump share two key similarities that make them distinct from every previous president: more self-referential rhetoric using “I” and “me” as well as high levels of “tenacity,” or calls to action.
“These two have a marked difference from any of the other presidents,” Glenn explained.
While Obama’s speeches were 69 percent more self-referential than the presidential average, Trump’s speeches have been 89 percent more self-referential. Obama and Trump are also the only presidents to surpass the average for tenacious rhetoric by a “substantial” percentage, the researchers said. “Tenacity” was defined by “must,” “need” and other words that are used to connote immediacy.
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