Come hell or high water—and the latter surely did come—the 2012 campaign for the United States presidency is finally over. So it’s time to get started on Presidential Election 2016. Already it’s less than four years until Tuesday, November 2, 2016.
In my book about the presidents (Presidential Voices, published in 2004 by Houghton Mifflin), I gave useful advice to would-be candidates, including the speech styles they should master. I even provided an all-purpose inaugural address for the winner.
But I neglected to offer any campaign slogans. And candidates surely need them. So here is an opportunity for you to provide a public service, and win a copy of my book, by coming up with the most useful slogan for a future candidate.
This is the hard part: I don’t want slogans that are designed for particular candidates. We know some of the likely candidates for 2016, but the actual hat-in-ringers are certain to include others unthought of now. So I’m looking for an all-purpose slogan that is distinctive and could be used by almost anyone.
Here are some examples that won’t work:
“I like Ike.” Distinctive, but good only for Ike.
“Hope.” Anyone can use it, but it’s not distinctive.
What is? Well, here’s my all-time favorite from the election of 1840: “Log cabin and hard cider.” Coined by William Henry Harrison’s enemies and then adopted by his partisans, despite the fact that Harrison didn’t live in a log cabin and wasn’t particularly fond of cider. Harrison won the election of 1840.
So don’t let facts get in the way of your creativity. Here are my rules:
- No more than 10 words. Fewer is better. It’s a slogan, not a manifesto.
- Not used in previous presidential campaigns. Make it new!
- Available for any candidate, Democrat, Republican, or independent. Equal opportunity!
There are half a million or so words in the English language. Look for a few that haven’t been used yet in campaign slogans.
Who knows, you might win not only my book but a place on the campaign committee of your favorite candidate.
Deadline? Well, a week from now, that is, Wednesday, November 14. Hurry to jump on the bandwagon before it starts rolling! Just post your slogan in the Comments below. If you want, you can explain why it will work.
Here’s an example: “No Rumpelstiltskin.” Effective because it gives an ugly alien-sounding name and image to the opponent. People who know the story of Rumpelstiltskin will shudder, and even if they don’t remember the story, they are likely to have distaste for that name in the back of their minds.
OK, your turn. …Return to Top