I will be giving a paper at the Canadian Political Science Association Conference on May 30. It’s entitled “It’s the Way you Tell It: Conflicting Narratives in the 2015 Canadian Federal Election and 2016 US Presidential Election.” The paper summarizes my research over the last eighteen months about the stories the major candidates told about themselves and their opponents. Empirically, the paper is based on analyzing 135 English-language ads posted on YouTube by the three major Canadian political parties and 322 posted on YouTube by the Trump and Clinton campaigns (and their major PACs).
The paper – 9000 words long – begins with the theory of public sector narrative I develop in my 2011 book Governing Fables and then uses it to outline the basic narratives of the Canadian Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP and of the Trump and Clinton campaign. I present empirical results regarding the fables the different parties used, as well their choices of narrating voice, music, and color palette. I examine the effectiveness of the different campaigns on the basis of the YouTube viewcounts for their ads. And I draw conclusions about using social media evidence to predict election outcomes, as well as the effectiveness of certain campaign memes and approaches.
As you can see, I am deliberately not summarizing the paper or providing an abstract. Rather I am encouraging you to download it and read it, using the following link: