Primary Constituency-Focused Presidential Communication

56 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017 Last revised: 27 Sep 2021

Date Written: September 25, 2021


This paper uses unsupervised machine learning to uncover the topic structure of Organizing for America/Action and Trump campaign emails and generate measures of the mixtures of presidential presentation strategies used in communications in the Obama and Trump administrations. Application of Topics over Time (TOT) topic modeling to a corpus of all 967 emails sent by Organizing for America, Obama-Biden 2012, and Organizing for Action over a seven year period reveals 5 topics suggested by the data, with four focusing on bases of common interest, including shared partisan/ideological affinity, shared enemies, shared issue commitments, and shared movement membership, along with a topic focusing on the person of the president. This structure is largely maintained in a corpus of 961 emails sent by the Trump campaign from November 2016 through August 2020. These measures of presidential presentation strategies provide support for the hypothesis that presidents adopt more inclusive strategies for maintaining this constituency when economic conditions improve, and adopt more exclusive strategies when conditions deteriorate.

Suggested Citation

Klingler, Jonathan, Primary Constituency-Focused Presidential Communication (September 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Jonathan Klingler (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi ( email )

237 Deupree Hall
University, MS 38677
United States


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