You’ve probably heard variations on a well-known slogan this year. Two I’ve heard are “Make America White Again” and “Make America Great for White People Again”.
It’s unlikely, however, that you’ve heard variations on Hillary Clinton’s slogan or even know what her slogan is. She never wears a silly hat that has it plastered on the front.
Yes, that’s it: “Stronger Together”.
I agree with the sentiment, of course, since we are stronger as a nation when we work together. But “Stronger Together” hasn’t caught on, certainly not as much as “Make America As Great As It Was For White Men In 1955”.
In fact, there were at least two articles this week that said Hillary needs a better slogan, something that would express an overarching theme, something you could put on a t-shirt or a stupid hat. The Guardian actually called their editorial “Hillary Needs a Slogan to Sum Up What She Stands For”:
Mrs. Clinton seems to have a hundred carefully costed policies but not one eye-catching slogan. She radiates a sensible incrementalism. She campaigns in prose, leaving poetry to her predecessor. This is a mistake. She needs to focus on what is driving discontent in America: an economic system that no longer defuses high levels of inequality with opportunities for all….Mrs. Clinton needs to find a resonant theme to sum up her policies: a Marshall Plan for the middle classes would not be a bad idea. Monday is her chance to show she is motivated by the common good. Mrs. Clinton should seize it.
I’m not sure many Americans could identify the Marshall Plan today, but you get their drift. A columnist for Bloomberg View contributed “Clinton Needs a Better Slogan” the very same day:
The Democratic nominee does have 40 bullet-point programs on everything from child care to mental health to the Middle East. But she has no memorable rallying cry to capture her candidacy and rationale to be president.
To test that, simply ask a bunch of Clinton supporters to summarize in a sentence or two what her candidacy is about. You usually get multiple paragraphs in response.
This is more a political than a substantive issue. Slogans are no substitute for governing policies….Still, a catchphrase can be a powerful and moving expression of a candidate’s authentic ambitions.
Yes, a simple catchphrase could finally help undecided voters make up their minds between two candidates as different as Hillary and Voldemort.
So I got to thinking. What might be better than “Stronger Together”?
First, it occurred to me that Hillary has said her primary goal as President will be to get the economy working for all of us, partly by improving the labor market in a number of ways.
Second, Hillary is known as a hard worker. Even Republican politicians agree that she has a remarkably strong work ethic. Indeed, people often suggest she works too hard and needs to lighten up (all those position papers, for example).
So I came up with this:
I like “Let’s Get To Work” for several reasons.
It summarizes Hillary’s primary goal as President, an improved economy for all of us, not just those at the economic top.
It reminds people that she’s a hard worker who has lots of ideas and the energy and temperament to get things done, even to get things done with the Republicans in Congress, as she did when she was First Lady and a Senator.
It brings to mind the backlog of work to be done in Washington, all the projects and initiatives that have gone nowhere because of Republican opposition (increased infrastructure spending, a higher minimum wage, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, etc. etc.).
For older voters, it might even evoke memories of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or, more recently, the growing economy we enjoyed during Bill Clinton’s administration. And there could hardly be a more welcome promise to the unemployed and underemployed than “Let’s Get To Work”.
I believe it’s positive, inclusive and relatively specific. Plus, it sounds less like a reaction to her opponent’s campaign of bigotry and exclusion than “Stronger Together”.
Since we’re living in the era of electronic sharing, I submitted my proposed slogan to Hillary and her campaign and also sent it soaring into the Twitter-verse. I’ve also shared it with a few live human beings of my acquaintance.
Of course, I know it’s late to fully adopt a new slogan, and so far all I’ve got back from the Clinton campaign is a form letter thanking me and encouraging me to volunteer.
But hope springs eternal! Perhaps, when Hillary offers her closing remarks on Monday night before an audience of 100 million or so people (minus me), she’ll wind up her two or three minutes with a ringing call to action:
Let’s get to work!
Hey, maybe she’ll even cite a guy from New Jersey as the source of this new, exciting summation of her candidacy. Stranger things have happened!
And if you doubt me, consider this editorial in The New York Times from tomorrow’s paper: “Hillary Clinton for President: Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience and courage”. The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s the last paragraph:
Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.
You can thank me after the election.