The Politics of Emotions, Candidates, and Choices

pp 59-82


The New Politics of Hope and Change

  • Heather E. YatesAffiliated withUniversity of Central Arkansas


The 2008 presidential campaign was a historic benchmark in American politics. The American electorate responded to the country’s first African-American presidential candidate with enthusiasm and pride. Theories of race and gender in politics are examined and frame the analysis of the four emotional dynamics that exerted influence on voters’ appraisals of candidates and issues. The analysis of the 2008 presidential campaign involves a multidimensional examination of the political context, campaign narratives, voter dynamics, and the politics of race and gender. This is the context against which the influence of voters’ emotional responses is considered. The research suggests the success of Obama’s singular narrative offering “hope” and “change” and offers a point of origin to examine the emergence of voter discontent with establishment politics.