Shepard Fairey's 2008 poster Hope has become the most widely seen and iconic image of President Barack Obama. This thesis examines the formal stylistic elements that informed the aesthetics of Hope and the socialized interpretations these styles and symbols had on the voting electorate in 2008. Spreading virally through the Internet, Fairey's image adorned websites, stickers, posters, and billboards, all functioning to disseminate the man and the message; critically impacting the campaign. Appropriating the Associated Press photograph of Mannie Garcia and historical styles, Fairey created an icon and set into motion a grassroots movement that elected the forty-forth president of the United States. The thesis begins with an introduction to literature relevant to understanding the role of image in society. It is reasoned that in an era of mass consumption there is merit in examining the social conditions and historic processes that contribute to the image's appeal. The review investigates how knowledge is produced, visually across Hope, in the context of 2008. Chapter three traces the appropriated historical styles in Hope connecting the image's reference to a grass-roots production to memories or notions of social movements of the past. The history of street art is traced to the origins of graffiti and is shown to inform Hope's subversive image. A review Obama's use of new media technology and the Internet augment a discussion of the candidate's advertising and marketing strategies. The combined study of historical references in Hope and a survey of its use as a piece of viral marketing demonstrate how art is absorbed into the economic and political arena. Finally, the consequences of centering the candidate's image over platform issues is shown to divert audience attention, crowding out a pertinent discussion of political realities and political issues. The study demonstrates how images influence the results of elections and compromise political dialogue.