I like Ike.
Tippecanoe and Tyler, too.
Happy days are here again.
Some are hopeful, others are dark. Some describe the candidate, others the opponent. Some talk about what is, other what could or should be. I think it's fair to say, the people who created presidential campaigns slogans going back to pre-Civil War elections were very imaginative.
Let's start with President William Henry Harrison's campaign. He moved to southern Ohio after serving in the military, including in the Northwest Indian War, also called the Ohio War, and the War of 1812. In between, he led forces against various Native American tribes who opposed European settlement of the American West in the Battle of Tippecanoe. That victory earned him the nickname Tippecanoe. When he ran for president in 1840, the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too” was popularized and used against Harrison's opponent, incumbent President Martin Van Buren. John Tyler was Harrison's running mate and after serving as president for 31 days, Harrison died, making Tyler president.
In 1852, presidential contender Franklin Pierce's slogan was "We Polked you in '44, We shall Pierce you in '52." The ‘44 reference referred to James Polk’s election as president.
Ulysses Grant earned many accolades for his military service during the Civil War. First elected in 1868, he used this slogan for his re-election campaign in 1872: "Grant Us Another Term.”
In his re-election bid in 1912, Ohio's William Howard Taft came up with this slogan: "It is nothing but fair to leave Taft in the chair.”
Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for re-election during wartime. Lincoln's 1864 slogan was "Don't change horses midstream." Borrowing from that, Roosevelt's 1944 slogan was "Don't swap horses in midstream."
Not all slogans were highbrow; some were positively bawdy, like Al Smith's 1928 slogan, “Make your wet dreams come true." He was in favor of repealing Prohibition, in case you haven't already guessed.
While more recent campaigns have been filled with attack ads despite lofty slogans, the Grover Cleveland-James Blaine presidential contest in 1884 rates right up there in the “nasty” category. Blaine's campaign alleged that Cleveland had an illegitimate child. They used the slogan, “Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?” Cleveland's campaign swung back with a slogan alleging Blaine was corrupt, “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine! The continental liar from the state of Maine!"
After Cleveland won the election, his camp added this line to Blaine's “Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?” slogan, "Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha!"
I discovered slogans from Richard Nixon's opponents that I am not comfortable repeating. Let's just say they feel a bit like an anatomy lesson gone awry.
Do you remember the 1964 campaign and Barry Goldwater's slogan, "In Your Heart, You Know He's Right" or the response of Lyndon Johnson’s supporters, "In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts."
Some slogans flopped along with their candidate like “Dewey or Don't We” from Thomas Dewey's 1944 campaign and “Dew it with Dewey” from his 1948 try or “Let's make it a Landon-slide” from Al Landon's 1936 campaign.
I hope, regardless of your political persuasion, this column gave you a laugh, perhaps a reason to wince. I also hope you have already voted, or you have plans in place to make sure your vote is counted.
Contact freelance writer Michele Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.