It’s been another big week in the life of Missouri residents who finally had the opportunity a few days ago to vote in primary elections. Let me tell you, it has been a slog getting here. For many months, and particularly in the last few weeks, nearly every television commercial, radio ad, and piece of junk mail has proclaimed the virtues of candidates while bashing opponents.
Our inboxes have been inundated with uninvited appeals, our spam filters have been working overtime, and every street corner has been littered with brightly colored signs featuring slick, stupid slogans. I imagine that’s been the case for most of us in the US as we move through primary season in preparation for the next one which will begin on Wednesday, November 9.
And that’s how it’s been since at least 1840 when William Henry Harrison, famed hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe, made a bid for the presidency with his running mate John Tyler under the slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!” It was also a song, that is particularly painful to listen to.
But it isn’t the worst campaign slogan ever. That distinction probably belongs to 1928 Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith, whose slogan “Make your wet dreams come true,” both communicated his anti-prohibition platform and made would-be voters incredibly uncomfortable. And yes, etymologically speaking, Smith was intentional in doubling his entendre, at least according to Merriam-Webster.
My favorite slogan, however, comes from the race between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Goldwater’s slogan of choice was “In your heart, you know he’s right.” That one is terrible, but Johnson’s response of, “In your guts, you know he’s nuts” is about as good as it gets. I mean if you’re going to drown us in campaign garbage, then at least have the decency to be clever about it.
I’m just glad that in Missouri it’s finally over. The votes have been cast, the ballot boxes filled, and life can return to normal for approximately fifteen seconds before the winners’ campaigns ramp up for the general election in November.
That’s when the losing candidates who were slinging mud up until and all through this past Tuesday begin instead to issue statements of support, such as, “I may have been mistaken when I called my opponent a child molester who supports cancer in all its varied forms. Regardless, I ask you now to lend him your support because at least he’s not that other guy.”
The elections went okay, I guess, as far as elections go. Primary elections in non-presidential years don’t usually yield a whole lot of excitement, but there were a few hotly contested races and I did have to stand in line in order to vote. I generally think it’s a good thing when citizens care enough to show up. Like pretty much always, the candidates I favored won some and lost others. In a race or two, I was pleased to support someone and in most I voted for the least unsavory alternative.
I can’t complain too much, though, as I remain entirely unwilling to run for office myself. Even if I wanted to, I haven’t yet come up with an adequate slogan. I bet there’s a generator out there circulating on social media somewhere, something to do with rearranging a selection of words like integrity, experience, and leadership, based on your mother’s maiden name and the various digits of your social security number.
23 thoughts on “In Your Guts, You Know They’re Nuts”
OMG, right? Elections are nuts.
You’ve already taken up running, so you might as well run for office of some kind. 😉 Your slogan – “I’m running anyway, so I may as well run for office”
I maintain that running is stupid. I think that’s true in politics as well.
ongoing crazy in the political arena here in michgan as well
It sure doesn’t seem like we get much of a break.
I must say that our elections are not like this. There are banners in the streets but that’s it.
It gets to be a lot here.
Hurrah! Hurrah for Sarah!
I know it don’t rhyme but I’d vote because of it!
Guess I know who I need to hire as my campaign manager if I ever change my mind about running for office.
A quick Google for campaign slogan generator returned me, “You The Voter Have Integrity, Honesty, And Experience When You Vote For (Name) For (Office)”
It gave me confidence to know I have Integrity, Honesty, and Experience, lol.
Al Smith!! What a slogan LOL
Right? Yet somehow he didn’t win.
I’m gonna start selling campaign slogans. What’s the worst that could happen?
You don’t have to answer that . . .
Sounds like a pretty solid business.
We get the same in NZ. Wannabe politicians hurtling about going ‘yahoo, firetruck!’ in the hope people will vote for them. It probably works – the sitting MP in my home town actually owns an old firetruck and used it for electioneering. He got in.
I’d probably at least listen to a guy in an old firetruck.
If you run as a Republican, you should fit “right angle” into the slogan. As a Democrat you can be “the best of what’s left.”
I definitely can’t hire you as my campaign manager. I might accidentally win.
But we need you!
Thank you for the confidence, but I would be a terrible politician. I’m much too honest.
You are so right about the fifteen second pause before new commercials debut across all media about November elections. Here in Pennsylvania, sometimes I think we’ve mastered the concept of 100% negative advertising as soon as possible (May) once one race is over and another begins. It is so “uplifting” to simultaneously here primary results being reported while general election ads have started.
Right?! I have to wonder how effective they can possibly be. I assume we all just kind of tune them out by now.