Election time comes with a lot of stress and anxiety for many of us. However, despite any political affiliation, we have to admit that some of the creative slogans to come out of presidential campaigns are on point. Whether they are hilariously horrible or surprisingly successful, this list has the best of the best (or the worst of the worst as the case may be).
Franklin Pierce (1852)
We Polked You in ’44, We Shall Pierce You In ‘52. Yikes. Sure, the mid-1800s was a completely different time, but this somehow passed the standard for campaign slogans. Needless to say, nothing like this would fly nowadays. The thought was to remind the public of the last Democratic candidate, James Polk, and then to introduce the new candidate, Franklin Pierce. The campaign was successful – Pierce was elected the 14th president of the United States.
Barry Goldwater (1964)
Barry Goldwater had a few doozies during his run for office. His first campaign slogan was someone’s idea of being clever. Once they realized the last name “Goldwater” could be represented as the symbols on the Periodic Table, they decided to make that his slogan. Clearly, his team was too busy asking if they could and no one stopped to ask if they should. The second nail in the Goldwater campaign coffin was the Democratic candidate’s response to Goldwater’s buttons. He was known for his aggressive stance against the perceived Communist threat, so he had some buttons made up that said, In your heart you know he’s right. His opponent, LBJ, jumped on the bandwagon and had buttons made that said, In your guts you know he’s nuts.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1952)
In an attempt to seem more down-to-earth, Dwight Eisenhower decided to use his childhood nickname, Ike. Although, he really didn’t need much help being likeable – he was charming and a decorated World War II hero. Nevertheless, the campaign slogan, I like Ike, was extremely successful. People really did like Ike, and they liked the rhyming slogan. When he ran for re-election in 1956, his team decided to stick with what they knew and ran with the slogan, I still like Ike. He won by a wide margin both times.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1964)
John F. Kennedy was quickly dubbed JFK by the American public, so when his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson announced his run for office, it made sense that he soon became LBJ. When he ran for re-election in 1964, his campaign team took a page from the great book of Ike, and went with a catchy, rhyming slogan. All the way with LBJ was a success, and he secured over 90% of the electoral votes.
Adlai Stevenson (1952)
Turning a PR nightmare into a clever campaign slogan, Adlai Stevenson ran with, Better a hole in the shoe than a hole in the head! The inspiration for the slogan came when a photographer caught a picture of the Democratic nominee with a gaping hole in his shoe. The candidate was quick to turn it around and take control of the narrative by his clever slogan. This helped his campaign and painted him as the everyman. Even with the creative turn of phrase, Adlai lost the election to Eisenhower… twice!