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Laxamana, Jay

Professor Turner
English 114A
30 October 2016
Manipulation of Political Humor
Humor can be applied to almost anything. From the news, to sports, to people, and even on
touchy subjects such as politics; the possibilities are endless. This is a meme of presidential
candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate. Although
they are debating with each other, the picture makes it appear otherwise. The picture was taken at
the right moment to make it seem as if both of the candidates were singing a duet together. Both
of their facial expressions and body language gives the illusion of them singing. The caption of
the photo is a song from the movie High School Musical, where two characters sang a song
together, similar to how Trump and Clinton appear to be doing so. The type of humor being
employed here is satire, humor is being used to joke about the candidates' ability to debate.
Although the countless memes on both of the presidential candidates can be seen as comical, I
argue these type of content distract society from taking both of the candidates serious. Both of
the candidates' ideals are shadowed behind the humor associated with them. It is hard to
distinguish why humor is utilized in this campaign so heavily in comparison to the other ones. A
factor that can play a role is because we have never had such a different candidate like Trump,
who operates and thinks much differently than to what is expected of a president, and Hillary
Clinton; who may have a chance at becoming the first woman to be president. Because of this, it
has left society at an unusual position to decide which candidate to support because they
challenge the presidential precedents.

Donald Trump is arguably the most hated candidate in the election. He gets criticized on
everything about him, from his appearance, to his opinions, to his logic, and so forth. Even his
supporters receive hate solely for the fact that they agree with his political opinions and actions.
There will always be a meme on the internet targeting Trump or someone on social media
expressing their hatred towards him. Many people have even attempted to bring him down with
allegations of sexual harassment. A few people have came out and told the media about what
Trump did to them; stating that he doesn't treat women with respect. The most popular case
associated with this is where a woman stated that Trump allegedly put his hand up her skirt,
which caused quite a stir in the news and social media. Trump particularly stands out in this
election because of his extremist views on various issues and his political inexperience. For
example, his most popular and widely criticized idea to build a wall on the border of Mexico to
prevent illegal immigrants from coming to the US caused huge controversies. Because of the
way humor is used against him, it is hard to take him seriously. We as a whole have not heard
one good thing about him because of the way social media portrays him. Nobody ever speaks of
the positive aspects of Trump, instead they focus more on the negatives and allow that to
represent him.
Hillary Clinton, although arguably not hated as much as Trump, receives her fair share of
criticism. There are various pictures on the Internet making fun of her facial expressions and
even some of her outfits that she wore while giving speeches in different states. Clinton stands
out in this election because of the fact that she is a women. She has the chance of becoming the
first female president and some people can't grasp the concept of that. Society targets her because
she is a woman, with some stating absurd statements such as her emotions as a lady will affect
the way she coordinates her job or a woman is incapable of running a country. Even her

adversary, Donald Trump likes to target her. During the presidential debates, Trump mainly
critiqued the statements she made and constantly ridiculed her calling a liar. He also made a
statement saying she doesn't have the stamina to be president and has "bad experience." She is
also widely victimized because of the email scandal she was associated with. She allegedly made
an email account on a different server not hosted on servers owned and managed by the US
government during her four years in office as Secretary of State. This was a huge controversy
because of her reasoning behind it being it as a convenience, which led to mistrust among many
people. It is hard for society to take Clinton seriously because of the way she is portrayed.
Similar to Trump, we have mostly heard negative things about Clinton because of the way social
media chooses to present her.
Although both of the candidates ideals appear to be shadowed behind humor, it can also
be argued that society is aware of their ideals and uses humor to point out the ridiculousness of it.
The manipulation of humor is not all to blame in this scenario. A lot of people genuinely care
about the future of their country and who their leader will be for the next couple of years,
therefore it is logical to know who those potential candidates are and what they believe in.
Donald Trump's ideas on Immigration caused controversies around the nation particularly for
Latinos. His ideas caused quite a stir among the Latino community, which has even influenced
some of them to vote against him because of his policies and harsh statements on Latinos.
Maricela Andrade, a Latino immigrant, is one of people influenced by Trump's policies.
"Andrade quickly became part of a growing number of immigrants, many of whom are Latino,
nationwide who are registering to vote particularly in response to the anti-immigrant rhetoric
they've heard in Election 2016." Humor was used against Trump because of his contradictions on
Latinos, stating he likes them and his majority of workers are Latino while his immigration

policies say otherwise. Hillary Clinton also receives similar criticism because some of her ideas
are contradictions as well. There are various memes on the Internet which shows how she
switches her opinions to what society wants it to be. For example, a meme showed a section of
Hillary Clinton speaking about her hatred towards cats and then the next section showed society
liking cats and then the next section showed Clinton again except speaking towards her love for
cats with them surrounding her. Society as a whole has a general sense of who these candidates
are and what their ideals are. Humor is used as it is best said in the article by Catherine Cucinella
titled "Introduction: The Funny Thing about Humor is that it is Really Really Important!", as an
"effective means of swaying an orator's audience and opponents, of gaining advantage, and of
changing perspectives."
While society does know about the candidates ideals, do people actually disagree with
Trump's or Hillary's ideas or are they just following what the majority of society thinks about
them? An article from The Atlantic titled "Why Voters Hate Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump"
aimed to discover why both of these candidates are criticized so harshly. The article took a poll
of 2,000 registered voters and asked to pick the presidential candidate they disliked the most and
provide two reasons as to why they feel that way. The end result was quite interesting as the
people who opposed Hillary said she was untrustworthy and corrupt, while it was hard to find
reasoning against Trump. "Nearly half of Americans who dislike Clinton say she can't be trusted
and listed it as one of their biggest concerns. More than a third said she is corrupt." Trump's
results were different as a quarter of those who oppose him said racism was his biggest problem
while another 20 percent said he doesn't have the experience to become president. These
statistics show that people may not always have their own opinions and instead chooses to side
with everyone else because it is easier that way.

With Election day slowly approaching, The choice between the two candidates becomes
harder and harder. Both candidates have such big flaws that it is leaving some voters the decision
not to vote at all. This presidential campaign has been very different from previous ones. In
particular, Humor was one of the huge standing points in this campaign. Humor brought out their
flaws and were represented by them as well. The way they were portrayed on Social Media also
played a big role because they were widely victimized. Not only that, but it also gave society an
easy decision to choose how to represent them. Because of the way humor was utilized in this
campaign, it hindered us from taking both of the candidates as serious as we should have from
the start.

Works Cited
Cucinella, Catherine. ""Introduction: The Funny Thing About Humor is that it is Really Really
Important!" 6-7. Handout.
Graham, David A. "From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer." The
Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 06 Nov. 2016. Web. 06 Nov. 2016.
Mathewson, Tara G. "A Product of Trump's Immigration Ideas? A Spike in Latino Voter." New Edition Magazine, 01 Sept. 2016. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.
McGill, Andrew. "Why Voters Hate Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump." The Atlantic. Atlantic
Media Company, 17 June 2016. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.