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Sloganeering for President

jeb-bush-to-donald-trump-im-flattered-that-you-stole-my-tax-planIf you’re running for president, as half a dozen candidates are doing these days, you need money, you need meetings, you need enthusiastic supporters — and last but not least, you need slogans. Right?

Well, maybe. In August 2015, when the campaign was just getting started, the website Tagline Guru conducted a 2016 Campaign Slogan Survey. They asked some 250 “branding, marketing, and advertising professionals” to evaluate the official slogans of the 22 announced candidates in the running then.

That was then, this  is now. Of those 22, only two Democrats remain, and only three Republicans. Did their slogans play any part in their success or failure?

Here’s a test. Of the following slogans from last August, which ones are for currently active candidates and which are for dropouts? (For advanced credit, name the candidates.)

1. From Hope to Higher Ground.

2. A political revolution is coming.

3. Rebuild the American dream.

4. Make America great again.

5. A new American century.

6. Reigniting the promise for America.

You can find the names, with detailed analysis and ratings of the slogans, at the Tagline Guru website.

Here it suffices to say that the even-numbered slogans were for currently active candidates, odd-numbered for those who have fallen by the wayside.

I had to omit some candidates and former candidates from my quiz because their slogans give them away: ”Hillary for America,” “Kasich for Us,” and “Jeb!”

The 250 experts rated “From Hope to Higher Ground” the No. 1 slogan. Not that it did Mike Huckabee much good.

As Tagline Guru makes evident in its survey, it’s not easy to contrive a slogan that is distinctive, inspirational, patriotic. Of all the campaigns of the past few decades, the one slogan I remember is “I like Ike.”

And of all slogans of all times, my favorite is William Henry Harrison’s winning one in the campaign of 1840. Not “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too,” his original slogan, but “Log Cabin and Hard Cider,” an accusation by his opponents converted into a matter of pride. It turns out that being born in, or living in, a log cabin was practically a necessity for 19th-century presidential candidates, ever since Andrew Jackson led the way.

Does any of our current candidates need a better slogan? Do you have one?

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