Hillary Still Searching for a Campaign Slogan That Sticks

Posted: May 25, 2016 6:00 PM
Hillary Still Searching for a Campaign Slogan That Sticks

This Monday on “Meet the Press,” Hillary Clinton unveiled a new campaign slogan: “Stronger together.” Since then, many in the press have criticized the slogan as sounding defensive and as lacking a truly unifying message.

“I’m not 100 percent sure what it means and how it unites voters,” said Joy-Ann Reid in a roundtable discussion on “Meet the Press.” She noted that the slogan fails to provide a central vision, a “driving dream,” for her supporters to rally around, unlike, for example, Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”

In the same discussion, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said that her slogan sounds “a little defensive,” given the weakness she has displayed in her race against Bernie Sanders. “Stronger together” might be interpreted as a plea for the party to unite behind her, so that she has the political strength to win the presidency. It’s a defensive gesture in that it defends her against charges of weakness—on the condition, however, that the party as a whole supports her.

“Stronger together” is by some counts the seventh slogan Clinton has employed throughout her campaign. Others include, “I’m with Her,” “Make America Whole,” “Love and Kindness,” “Break Down Barriers,” “Build Ladders of Opportunity,” and “Love Trumps Hate.” She changed slogans with similar frequency during her 2008 campaign, wherein she used, among others, the slogans, “Working for Change, Working for You,” “Ready for Change, Ready to Lead,” and “I’m in to Win.”

Her difficulty in articulating a vision for the country has plagued both of her campaigns, drawing complaints from supporters and detractors alike. “I’ve been waiting to hear a vision,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in June 2015, explaining why he hadn’t yet endorsed Clinton. In early 2016, Republican consultant Beth Myers criticized Clinton’s “muddled message” to an electorate desperate for “clarity of vision.”

Whether “Stronger together” is an effective answer to her critics remains to be seen. Given its initially cool reception, however, it appears unlikely that it will have the impact and staying power of her opponent’s.