Image courtesy of National Public Radio
Based on this YouTube video: Tim Kaine FIU
Senator Tim Kaine connects with his audience by tying his speech to the values of faith, family, and work. Senator Kaine knows his audience at the Florida International University Arena is well over 50 percent Hispanic-American so when he walks on stage he greets the audience, first in English and then again in Spanish. This small gesture is intended to indicate to the audience that Senator Kaine is a trustworthy politician. Senator Kaine also presents himself as a friendly and approachable man by not wearing a tie and leaving his top collar button undone. His goal is to immediately portray to the audience that he, along with Secretary Clinton, are completely opposite of Donald Trump. Knowing that Americans, especially in this case the Hispanic-American community, hold the values of faith, family, and work in high regard, Senator Kaine draws from his own experiences in order to get the audience to consider him as a relatable equal.
Senator Kaine first refers to his family throughout his speech and explains that while he grew up in Kansas City the only things they worried about were church, sports and work. He explained that his father worked at a union run iron shop in the stockyards and said that much was expected of him and his brother, from his father, when it came to helping out. He went on to say how it never bothered him because family is supposed to help you when you’re in need. Senator Kaine also expressed his pride in his son Nat who is currently serving as a U.S. Marine and is set to deploy to Europe to uphold the commitment to N.A.T.O. allies. He then goes on to say that Trump has no respect for the United States military or its allies. Senator Kaine then explains how Trump thinks the military is a disaster and how he plans on turning Americas back on the decades old commitments to its allies. He also references his love for his wife and how marrying her was the best decision he’s made in his life. Senator Kaine does this, along with many other inferences to strength in family, so that the audience will believe that family is as important to him as it is to them.
Senator Kaine also speaks about his faith and begins by explaining that he went to an all-boys religious school which indicates faith has been a strong influence on his life since a young age. Senator Kaine speaks on his Catholicism and then compares his faith to Secretary Clintons saying that their common creed was the same as all other faiths: to do all the good you can and to make a positive impact on as many peoples’ lives as possible. He then discusses his work abroad in Honduras, where he volunteered with Jesuit missionaries, and how his experience of working at the stockyards helped him teach natives carpentry and welding and in turn he was taught Spanish. By referring to religion Senator Kaine is appealing to the audiences on a spiritual level to again become more relatable as a person.
The goal of Senator Kaine’s speech was to get his audience to identify him as a relatable person who held the same values as many of them. He describes aspects of his life that connect to these values accordingly and incite his audience to connect these values as part of the Clinton Presidential Campaign. Senator Kaine is clearly effective in his speech because its context is strategically targeted for the audience at the FIU arena.