Campaign slogans are short political taglines aimed at connecting politicians with voters. Through the years, there have been many notable ones used by those running for office. Enjoy these seven examples:
- Tippecanoe and Tyler, too –This memorable campaign slogan was that of William Henry Harrison’s in the presidential election of 1840. The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought in 1811 in Battle Ground, Indiana, between American soldiers led by Major General William Henry Harrison and Native American warriors. A Shawnee chief named Tecumseh sought to defend against US expansion. He left to assemble more forces. Meanwhile, a surprise attack was launched on Harrison’s soldiers by Tecumseh’s brother (known as the Prophet) who was left in charge. Harrison fought on the frontlines on horseback. Not only did he repel the Shawnee attack, but he burned down the village and crops as well. The battle ultimately resulted in US victory. This established Harrison’s national reputation as a great leader, hence the slogan.
- Ma, Ma, Where’s My Pa? – This unforgettable campaign slogan was used in the presidential election of 1884, historically one of the dirtiest campaigns ever run in America. The campaign focused on morality of the candidates. Democratic candidate, Governor Grover Cleveland, and his party believed that Republican Senator James G. Blaine had unjustly profited from railroad interests while serving in Congress. They came up with the slogan, “Blaine! Blaine! Continental liar from the state of Maine!” When Cleveland was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock, Republican backers subsidized the distribution of a song (Ma! Ma! Where’s my Pa?) mocking Cleveland. The future president, then a bachelor, did his best to diffuse the situation by accepting parentage without knowing if he indeed was the child’s father. The Democrats, who ultimately succeeded in the election, had a smart remark to Blaine’s campaign slogan, responding with, “Gone to the White House, Ha Ha Ha!”
- It’s nothing but fair to leave Taft in the chair – This 1912 campaign slogan is considered “one that fell flat,” yet the rhyme certainly has a ring. With the help of outgoing Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft won the 1908 election. But, by 1912, Roosevelt had turned against him and formed the new Progressive or Bull Moose Party to run for a third term. Per historians, President Taft didn’t like to work much. In fact, he preferred to be on the golf course. Furthermore, Taft grossly disliked campaigning. His campaign slogan is said to reflect the attitude that, “Hey, he’s already in office, so let him stay there.” Taft’s dull campaign resulted in a win for Woodrow Wilson. Not only did Wilson unseat the incumbent Republican President, but he also defeated former President Theodore Roosevelt.
- Happy days are here again – The hit song “Happy Days Are Here Again” is from a 1930 movie musical. It was written by songwriter Jack Yellen and Milton Ager before the big stock market crash in 1929 that triggered the Great Depression. The song lyrics feature inspirational lyrics such as, “Happy days are here again, the skies above are clear again,” and became a symbol of hope for many Americans. The song was associated with Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was running for President in 1932 to unseat incumbent President Herbert Hoover. It was played at the Democratic National Convention when Roosevelt arrived in Chicago to accept his party’s nomination for President. This marked the first time a pre-written tune was selected as a presidential campaign theme song. And the song remained the unofficial anthem of the Democratic party for years to come. Roosevelt emerged victorious in the election.
- I Like Ike – This 1952 campaign slogan is not only catchy, but it’s straightforward. And, it has stuck. The slogan is based on the nickname of five-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower who became famous as a military leader. It is believed that the slogan first appeared in Irving Berlin’s musical entitled Call Me Madam in the form of “They Like Ike.” Eisenhower was well respected, so much so that each party tried to convince him to be their presidential nominee. Thus, the slogan began to be used before he officially agreed to the nomination. The saying appeared on buttons, posters, cigarette boxes, drinking glasses and other merchandise. And Ike was so liked that he captured 39 of the then 48 states and won big in the electoral vote, easily defeating his opponent, Democrat Adlai E. Stevenson.
- In Your Heart You Know He’s Right – The year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson was up for election against the Republican Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater. Goldwater’s supporters enjoyed catchy puns and gimmicks, including wearing pins that read “Au H20” for “gold” and “water.” Goldwater decided to go with the campaign slogan, “In Your Heart You Know He’s Right” and purportedly it was chosen over others. However, Johnson’s campaign felt the need to mock it and responded with their own slogan, “In Your Guts You Know He’s Nuts.” Presenting Goldwater as an extremist, Johnson ultimately won the Presidential election of 1964 by a landslide.
- Make America Great Again – ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) is a political slogan strongly associated with President Donald J. Trump. The MAGA motto was widely used by Trump in his successful 2016 presidential campaign against Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Though the words were used in the past by other presidents, including by Ronald Reagan in his 1980 Presidential campaign, it was most effective when used by the 45th US President. It served to let Americans know that Trump would work to strengthen the economy and negotiate better trade deals to prevent the country from those seeking to take advantage. The slogan became so popular and tied to him that he trademarked it.