If you’re thinking about running for office, you may have wondered whether or not you should come up with a clever political campaign slogan. The truth is that slogans don’t win or lose elections, especially for candidates in smaller local races.
A brief campaign slogan that encompasses your campaign message and appeals to voters is a good addition to any campaign, but be careful that your sloganeering doesn’t get too confusing, wordy or cute. In the end, your race is going to be affected most by how hard you work on the campaign trail, not whether or not you have a catchy slogan.
If you do decide to affix a slogan onto your campaign literature and advertising, it can help to look as some of the famous slogans used by political campaigns over the last few centuries. Some were effective, some ineffective . . . but most, you’ll notice, were brief and to-the-point.
Slogans From United States Presidential Campaigns
- Herbert Hoover, the 1928 Republican presidential candidate, used the campaign slogan “A chicken in every pot. A car in every garage.”
- Lyndon Johnson’s campaign slogan in 1964 was “All the way with LBJ.”
- The campaign slogans from John F. Kennedy’s successful presidential bid were “A time for greatness” and “We can do better.”
- “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” This was the campaign slogan question asked by Ronald Regan in 1980.
- Warren G. Hardy used the campaign slogan “Back to normalcy” when he ran for president in 1920 just after the First World War.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, a candidate in the 1940 presidential campaign, used the slogan “Better a third term than a third-rater.” Roosevelt, of course, was running for his third term as president.
- In 1884, the supporters of presidential candidate Grover Cleveland often chanted this slogan about his opponent: “Blaine! Blaine! James G. Blaine! Continental liar from the state of Maine!”
- Similarly, the opponents of presidential and vice-presidential candidates Gerald Ford and Bob Dole branded them with the unflattering campaign slogan “Bozo and the pineapple.”
- Contemporary voters will be very familiar with Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign slogan: “Change we can believe in.” The Obama campaign also used the slogan “Yes we can.”
- That same year, Obama’s Republican opponent John McCain used the slogan “Country first.”
- Alfred M. Landon was a presidential candidate in 1936, and he used the campaign slogan “Defeat the New Deal and its reckless spending.”
- One very famous presidential campaign slogan was Abraham Lincoln’s “Don’t swap horses in midstream” in 1864.
- George McGovern supporters came up with a clever and vulgar slogan to lambaste President Richard Nixon: “Don’t switch Dicks in the middle of a screw.”
- The 1900 presidential campaign slogan of William McKinley might seem a bit odd to contemporary voters: “Four more years of the full dinner pail.”
- “Give ‘em Hell, Harry!” was the campaign slogan of Harry Truman in 1948, and is the favorite slogan of many presidential historians.
- 1968 presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy used the slightly odd campaign slogan “Go clean for Gene.”
- Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of former President William Henry Harrison, went with the campaign slogan “Grandfather’s hat fits Ben” in 1888.
- Back in 1872, Ulysses S. Grant used the simple and clever slogan “Grant us another term” in his re-election campaign.
- “He kept us out of war.” This was the straightforward campaign slogan of Woodrow Wilson in 1916. He also used the famous slogan “He proved the pen mightier than the sword.”
- Presidential candidate Herbert Hoover used the strange campaign slogan “Hoo but Hoover?” in 1928.
- One of the most famous campaign slogans of all time was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “I like Ike” in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections.
- Yet another slogan from Franklin D. Roosevelt: “I propose a new deal,” from the 1932 presidential campaign.
- “I’m just wild about Harry” was the title of a popular song, and Harry S. Truman used it as his slogan during the presidential campaign of 1948.
- Barry Goldwater, a presidential candidate in 1964, used the campaign slogan “In your heart, you know he’s right.”
That same year, Goldwater’s opponents gave him their own unflattering slogan, “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”
- The successful presidential campaign of Bill Clinton in 1992 used the slogans “It’s time to change America” and “It’s the economy, stupid.”
- Not many people remember that Calvin Coolidge used the campaign slogan “Keep cool and keep Calvin Coolidge” in the presidential race of 1924.
- William McKinley’s somber 1900 presidential campaign slogan was “Let well enough alone.”
- In 1936, Alfred Landon didn’t find much success with three different presidential campaign slogans: “Let’s get another deck,” “Let’s make it a Landon-Slide” and “Life, Liberty and Landon.”
- Another famous presidential anti-slogan was “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?” This was used by supporters of candidate James Blaine against Grover Cleveland, who was the father of an illegitimate child.
- When he ran for re-election in 1984, President Ronald Regan used the campaign slogan “Morning again in America.”
- Wendell Willkie, a little-known candidate in the 1940 presidential campaign, used the slogan “No fourth term either.”
- One of the most successful and phonetically pleasing presidential campaign slogans was “Peace and Prosperity,” used by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.
- We’re not quite sure what “Pour it on ‘em, Harry!” means, but it’s the campaign slogan used by Harry S. Truman in 1948.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt asked voters to “Remember Hoover!” in his slogan from the 1936 presidential campaign.
- Here’s a pretty clever one: although he didn’t win, presidential candidate Wendell Willkie used the slogan “Roosevelt for Ex-President” in 1940. He also used the slogan “There’s no indispensable man.”
- Most of us will still remember the 1992 presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot, who ran on the slogan “Ross for boss.”
- 1936 Presidential candidate Alf Landon was from Kansas, where the state flower in the sunflower. His opponent, Franklin D. Roosevelt, used the campaign slogan “Sunflowers die in November.” Funny stuff!
- 1868 presidential candidate Horatio Seymour had a campaign slogan that wouldn’t go over very well nowadays: “This is a white man’s government!”
- A lot of political history students have heard the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too,” which was from the presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison and vice-president nominee John Tyler in 1840.
- One of our personal favorite presidential campaign slogans is “Vote as you shot,” from the 1868 campaign of Ulysses S. Grant.
- One of many campaign slogans speaking out against Franklin D. Roosevelt was “Washington wouldn’t, Grant couldn’t, Roosevelt shouldn’t.” It referred to Roosevelt’s attempt to run for an unprecedented third term in office.
- The Great Depression was in full during the 1932 presidential campaign of Herbert Hoover. He used the slogan “We are turning the corner.”
- Democratic presidential candidate Franklin Pierce used a clever turn on words during his 1852 campaign: “We Polked you in ’44, we shall Pierce you in ’52.” It referred to former President James K. Polk.
- Wendell Willkie went with a couple of other simple campaign slogans during the 1940 presidential campaign: “We want Willkie” and “Win with Willkie.”