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6 Presidential Campaign Slogans That Fell Flat

September 15, 2020 in History

By Becky Little

Political campaign slogans haven’t always caught on. In fact, some have proven odd or embarrassing.

Puns, rhymes and catchy phrases do remarkably well in United States presidential campaigns, even if they seem a little cheesy. After succeeding Warren G. Harding when he died in office, Calvin Coolidge won the 1926 election using the slogan “Keep Cool with Coolidge.” Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1952 slogan, “I Like Ike,” was so popular that one of his 1956 reelection slogans was “I Still Like Ike.”

“What’s [‘I Like Ike’] actually say about his policies? Nothing, but it’s cute,” says Julia Abramoff, publisher and director of editorial at Apollo Publishers, which recently released Words to Win By: The Slogans, Logos, and Designs of America’s Presidential Elections. Historically, popular presidential slogans focus more on being short, pithy and memorable than on articulating a candidate’s policy position.

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Yet sometimes, these attempts to be cute verge on awkward. In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s opponent, Alf Landon, used slogans like “Let’s Make It a Landon-Slide” and “Land on Washington.” When Thomas Dewey challenged FDR in 1944, his slogans included “Well, Dewey or Don’t We” and “We Are DUE for a Change.” Dewey ran for president again in 1948, this time urging voters to “Dew It with Dewey” (ultimately, they did it with Harry Truman).

Below are some more questionable presidential slogans in U.S. history.

1. ‘It’s Nothing but Fair to Leave Taft in the Chair’

William Howard Taft stands on a flag-draped platform to campaign for his election to the presidency.

William Howard Taft won the 1908 presidential election with the help of strong support from the outgoing president and fellow Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. By the 1912 election, Roosevelt had turned against him and formed the Progressive Party (or “Bull Moose Party”) to run for a third term. This made Taft’s second presidential campaign more challenging, especially for a man already averse to campaigning.

Taft “had a sense that Americans hated him,” says Margaret Kaplan, an editorial assistant at Apollo Publishers who worked on Words to Win By. “He hated being on the campaign trail, he always wanted to be golfing in his free time, he didn’t like working very much… His slogans, they make me chuckle because it’s like he doesn’t even want it.”

One of Taft’s slogans, “It’s Nothing but Fair to Leave Taft in …read more


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