Politics, a land of emotions

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Louise Hay


Politics, a land of emotions

Politics has become a field in which emotions play a fundamental role. Although power has always aroused great passions, today its leading role has been strengthened by the society of the show.

Last update: July 14, 2022

According to classical Greek theory, politics has two phases: competitive and architectural. During the competitive phase, power struggles take place to gain some control. Architecture, on the other hand, is the phase in which projects and actions appear once power is reached.

As a privileged terrain of emotions, politics is deeply rooted in the competitive phase. In the world of power, ideas are linked to reason, but they have a deep emotional root. It is in the struggle for power that emotions circulate most at the political level.

Today, many politicians base their speeches on emotions. They are more convincing if they use fearful messages or promises about projects to solve specific problems. Likewise, voters want proposals that can be solutions to their difficulties, but also that convey passion and enthusiasm.

"Politics is the art of preventing people from getting involved in what matters to them."

-Marco Aurelio Almazán-

Many political discourses have a deep emotional root.

The comunication

About 75% of interpersonal communication is non-verbal. To this we owe the importance that in politics is given to gestures, body postures, space management and all the elements that accompany words. Mimicry strengthens the emotional charge and generates a connection with the candidate.

Politicians' communication consultants focus on how to convey an image supported by the senses. What does it mean? The use of sensory stimuli to generate precise moods in voters.

This concept born in advertising is called brand sense and serves to amplify the values ​​of a candidate or a political party. The potential offered by sound, taste, sight, smell or touch greatly affects perception. It is about integrating the five senses for create sensory and emotional bridges between the candidate and his electorate.

Politics and emotions

As few times in history, nowadays there is a strong incidence of propaganda at the expense of ideological debate. Politics and entertainment are getting closer and closer; ideas and fun.

It is not uncommon for many today's politicians to behave more like pop stars than statesmen. Many of them are not trying to convey an ideological project, but to build an image tailored to what their audience wants to see and hear. It is more about marketing, in many cases, than about ideas or proposals.

Fear, today and always, has enormous persuasive power. It is inoculated into the voters in a subtle and continuous way. Each politician chooses an enemy and throws all his artillery at him.

Such an enemy can be the unemployed or the immigrant, the left, the right or whatever. The point is to build a discourse around the purpose of containing a threat. In many cases this strategy is a winner.

Emotional speeches have great persuasive power.

The new contributions

The success of emotional political discourse is due, in part, to the contribution of some human and social sciences. Psychology, for example, has favored the relationship between behavioral economics and the economic decisions made by the leaders of different governments.

Communication studies, particularly those focusing on advertising, have placed an emphasis on persuasion. Advertising persuasion is based on emotional rather than rational choices. And this has been applied to politics by paying close attention to the emotions that each candidate can feel.

But this is not exactly new. Already in the fourth century a. C., Aristotle spoke in his treatise Rhetoric of how emotions played a central role in the political debate.

He claimed that the purpose of the debate was to persuade, through emotions, rather than to achieve a reasoned decision-making process. According to him, convincing and winning were more important than arguing.

Almost 25 centuries later, politics makes the emotional sphere its own and combines non-verbal communication with feelings to reach a connection with the population, which goes beyond the rational. Those who attend the political speeches expect their hearts to be touched, and the candidates already know this.

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