How political elites constructed discursive communities in the debate surrounding the 2010 U.S. patient protection and affordable care act

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University of Alabama Libraries

The discursive communities created by the political elite surrounding the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yielded a clear divide between Democratic supporters and Republican opposition. This thesis investigates the discourse expressed by the policy makers in the House of Representatives and the Senate, by surveying the Congressional Record, from 21 March 2010 and 23 March 2010. Additionally, televised interview discourse is analyzed from the month leading up to the final vote, the days surrounding the vote in the House and Senate, and the month following. Both Democrat and Republican political elite are represented. Values analysis and fantasy theme analysis are applied to the discourse in order to analyze the perspectives that emerged from both political parties thoroughly. Results indicated that clear values emerged for the Democrats and Republicans, contributing to the divide between parties, particularly clear with health care reform. Fantasy theme analysis also indicated that symbolic convergence occurred for the Democratic support and Republican opposition, resulting in fantasy themes in which both parties portrayed their opposition as evil and themselves as protectors from harm.

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Communication, Political science