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In politics a "theme" is a broad point or basic image that a politician wants the electorate to remember. It comes from the period where rhetoric was thought of in musical or dramatic terms. The "themes" are, then, recurring ideas, plans, programs, tropes or other basic material which actions are seen as being derrived from.

In the present the word meme is often used to describe broad images or contexts, but the connotation is somewhat different. A theme comes from, or is associated with, a platform or politician, whereas a meme is important because of its ability to propagate. Themes resonate, and the network of thematic ideas is the candidate or party's message.

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