Rhetorical analysis why our dangerously outmoded election laws matter

Rhetorical Analysis on Editorial
In the Editorial: Why our dangerously outmoded election laws matter (Board), the author
tries to present an argumentative analysis on the depleting state of current election laws and
further develops the argument by quoting historic events that can support this claim. The
editorial aims to educate the voting public, and the legislative on an act that is presented as a
grave emergency.
Given the nature of the publisher, it is deemed to be a credible source as the editorial is
categorized as a unanimous opinion of the whole board. This piece of opinion focuses on the
lapses of the system in one dimension, continuing to invoke a sense of urgency and rage in the
reader (Board). The use of dramatic language adds pathos to the logic, which appeals to the
audience’s emotions in an attempt to get the point across. The argument relies on the use of
stories and events, presenting a side of the story without clearly pointing out the context of the
actions and their subsequent effects on the general state of elections. Adapting a monotonous
argumentative style, the editorial builds the argument on a premise that the laws are outdated,
and their ambiguity is a reason for the substandard electoral practices.
The argument provides facts and examples but fails to use them chronologically to
develop a causal chain. Consequently, the bombardment of facts and examples achieve less as
they are not backed up by evidence to support the reasons for the acts. The use of facts without
supporting evidence tries to invoke an emotional appeal from the reader, demanding an instant
agreement with the author’s claim. The argument is presented as a last resort for the safeguarding
of the democratic process and fails to provide an alternative evaluation. Using a range of logical
fallacies like scare tactics, and hasty generalization of the electoral process behavior across the
states is prevalent throughout the editorial (Board). Using only sentiments as a crux of the
argument, this editorial continues to appeal to the emotions while completely missing out on the
logical or ethical perspectives that the issue of safeguarding democracy entails.
The argument contains multiple references from political personalities and conveys their
opinion on the electoral system being infeasible. All the authorities listed are the ones that
support the argument due to their interests being aligned with its accuracy. Discretionary
omission of neutral authoritative figures is prevalent in the argument, and it does present the
statements from a time when the reference authorities were at a political disadvantage. Using the
example of the Ku Klux Klan and other racial terrorism instances, the editorial appeals to the
audience, leaving no choice for them to argue further (Lunsford, Andrea, and John). The use of
such extreme examples hinders the neutrality of the editorial, giving rise to a rather emotional
debate. As the article is used as a medium to educate the masses, it fails to provide adequate
information on what are the core linkages in the failure of the system and the actions that occur.
The actions of failed electoral processes are reliant on the losing side claiming the system to be
weak, be it the democrats or the republicans. This duality in arguments from the authorities
shows the ambivalence of people making these claims, rendering the editorial being a
substandard argumentative text.
There is no supportive evidence on the facts which make them emotional stories without
further debate. The article uses emotive vocabulary while expressing the stories which can show
the biases of the editorial board. The article lacks necessary opinions from the actual
stakeholders who have been a part of the process’s governance structure and only contributes to
the stories of the affected (Lunsford, Andrea, and John). The absence of neutrality serves the
interests of losing candidates who can use this as a claim for their inability to succeed, no matter
what the reasons. Burdening the electoral structure with all the drawbacks of elections is not
established logically, and aims to use pathos to get the point across.
The article is organized in a non-uniform manner and keeps on circling back to the
various facts within the argument. The mention of the law being ineffective comes up again with
similar stories, but the article lacks a logical flow or continuity in the body of the text. The
language used in the article can be a reference to why the author fails to remain neutral as the
repetitive use of negative words can cause disappointment in the reader, leading to a lack of faith
in the system which the article is against. As far as the editorial is concerned, it is a strong piece
of emotional agenda but does not get the point across logically. Banking on emotions is the
primary source of agreement makes this a weak article, showing the logical inconsistency and
enrichment of fallacies.
Works Cited
Board, The Editorial. “Editorial: Why Our Dangerously Outmoded Election Laws Matter.”
Chicagotribune.com, www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/editorials/ct-editorial-senatordick-Durbin-electoral-college-mike-pence-20220209-i5zyb5l5cnb7lazraym4l7kicistory.html. Accessed 23 Feb. 2022.
Lunsford, Andrea A, and John J Ruskiewicz. Everything’s an Argument. Boston, Bedford/St
Martin’s, 2019.

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