Useful (pithy) Election Messaging

As we get closer to American elections in November, there will be more demand for good messaging–particularly short and catchy (and witty), bumper-sticker-ready messages. (And other nations have elections coming up, too. I don’t want to make this too USA-centric.)

Today I saw a good one for Democrats:

Of course lengthy expressions of political-policy nuance are important and should not be denigrated. But, realistically, grabbing the attention of large swathes of the population is better accomplished with brevity.

I blame Boris Johnson for my bad bed-hair in the morning. If he’d just comb his fucking head I wouldn’t have to deal with this problem myself.


Assuming Trump runs again in 2024, I favor bringing back an LBJ classic. “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

“Republicans: Fighting for government-mandated pregnancy for 50 years!”

I always thought “Mitt – I guess” would have made a good one for the “severe conservatives”. Could that theme get recycled?

The Lincoln Project ninja’d you:


Honestly? The venn diagram of those who would blame Biden for inflation, and those who even know who Boris Johnson is do not intersect.

So - fail.

These are all quite good. Though I guess “If he’d just comb his fucking head” is a tad ambiguous.

Oh, I don’t know. I suspect a few Republican office-holders and Fox News pundits (at the very least) know who Boris Johnson is. There was quite a little cult of Nigel Farage there for a while, given how pro-Trump he was (and probably still is). If they know Farage, they are likely to have heard of Johnson.

But I take your point about the average MAGA voter. Names-in-the-news in general may not be their strong suit.

Slogan-wise: I’d like to see An America That Works given more play by the Dems. It contains no overt culture-war reference, yet implies things that Republicans hate and work feverishly to thwart. So: good one.

Messaging that inflation isn’t Biden’s fault unfortunately is more or less the same as messaging “vote for me because I can’t fix your problem”. I have no idea what the answer is and they may need to have some slogan like this to fend off attacks on inflation but there’s a reason it’s very tough for the incumbent party to run on a struggling economy.

Unless inflation improves dramatically, I think congressional democrats might have to try to avoid making the election a referendum on Biden and emphasize local issues as much as possible.

I think any Democrat who tries to run on a campaign message that includes the words “Joe Biden” and “inflation” is committing political suicide

That too

Been thinking about this same topic. “Women deserve fair wages and benefits for enforced reproduction therefore it’s time to organize a union! Healthcare, life insurance, hazard pay, legal representation for miscarriage or other loss and sick pay. Mandatory maternity leave with pay!”

A whole department of labor!

The problem is that nuanced policy doesn’t lend itself well to pithy election messaging.

The side that seeks simple answers to complex problems is won over by slogans. “Make America Great Again!” “Rah, rah, yeah!” What does that mean? It means what you want it to mean.

When people were complaining that some protestors fed up with being terrorized in their own neighborhoods and homes by police racial bias and militarization dared to utter the words, “Defund the police”, they said that any slogan that needs explaining is a bad slogan. It’s pithy, and gets the message of what the problem and the solution is across, but it needs explaining, so it’s bad.

I don’t think that the Democrats can be appealed to in the same way as Republicans can be with catchy phrasing and ambiguous meanings.

That said, “An America that works for You!” may be a useful slogan to get the conversation started.

Still too long -

America that works!

It can mean anything!

I actually support a lot of the arguments beind the Defund the Police movement, but even I think it’s a terrible, terrible slogan. What I think is going to happen in the next election is the Republicans will attempt to connect in the minds of voters Defund the Police to cities like San Francisco drowning in human feces and brazen property crimes. They’re going to shout, “This is what the Democrats want!” And it’s going to work.

I don’t see why not — Democrats used to be great at this. The New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society. FDR, Truman and LBJ didn’t spell out the details of every single initiative that would fall under these catch phrases. And those were effective campaign slogans.

I do think that personalizing it would help. The problem is that everyone sees that America works for everyone else, but they don’t see how it is working for them.

It is still meaningless and banal, but I think that it will motivate some people.

I agree, and nearly everyone else does as well. The only people who used it outside of the first few days of the grassroots protest were right wingers using it to beat on the left, and progressives beating on themselves.

And it will work, because even though no one has actually used the phrase outside of the first few days of the grassroots protestors fed up with being terrorized, it is still repeated by the right beating on the left, and the left beating on itself.

Moderation is Liberty!

I sitll hear it among some of my left leaning friends.