Themes, ideology, and social media: A critical analysis of US Vice President Pence’s Facebook posts

  • Nana Kwame Osei Fordjour University of New Mexico
  • Godwin Etse Sikanku Ghana Institute of Journalism
Keywords: vice-presidential communication, social media, critical discourse analysis, US, ideology, themes, Mike Pence


Considering the paucity of literature in vice-presidential research, this exploratory study analyzes the Facebook discourse of former US Vice President Mike Pence. Employing (Fairclough 2013) three-tier Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). We observed five salient themes: Criticism of Democrats, citizen appreciation, spousal support, border discourse, and religious affirmation. We argue it recontextualizes the ideologies of “mediated Trumpism” and conservatism. In addition, we assert that his discourse on Facebook was more presidential than in his time as a Congressperson and Governor. Our findings indicate that his Facebook discourse demonstrates steadfast support for Donald Trump by openly touting his achievement and persona, as his posts were congruent with some of Trump’s discourse in the media, which we attribute to the power relations between a President and his Vice. It also comports to the established functions of the Vice President, which is to support, complement or further enhance the president’s position. This study contributes to the literature in language and politics by extending an established theory to provide insights into a rarely researched political actor.

Author Biography

Godwin Etse Sikanku, Ghana Institute of Journalism

Godwin Etse Sikanku is a senior lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. He obtained his PhD from the University of Iowa and is currently the Executive Director for the Center for Public Discourse Analysis (CPDA). He specializes in political communication, journalism, and media studies