The growing slate of 2016 presidential candidates had barely had a chance to announce their campaigns before a new contender entered the fray, only to prove immediately divisive. The guilty party? Hillary Clinton’s new logo, a blue and red “H” with a bold arrow as the crossbar.
Since anything to do with Hillary raises red (and blue) flags, critics assumed that the logo must be packed with symbolism. So, left-wingers were displeased that the arrow is red and points to the right, while right-wingers were annoyed that, when reversed, the arrow points left. Not since the Soviets ideologically censored art for geographical orientation—things facing West were forbidden—has the mere direction of anything been so disparaged. But that doesn’t mean Hillary’s logo should be given a free pass. The folks at FedEx, Tag Heuer, Amazon, and at least a dozen other corporations are justifiably upset because they have arrows in their logos, too—and how many arrows can the market bear? (Incidentally, the Nazi Stormtroopers' (SA) logo contained an “S” that turned into an arrow, but don't judge all arrows on a few rotten applications.)
As far as visual tropes go, the “H” owes its issues partly to its dubious alphabetic predecessors. Napoleon was one of the first autocrats to use a single initial, an “N," as a monogram. Benito Mussolini’s “M” was monumentalized through sculpture and distributed to his followers on badges of allegiance. The single initial implies a noblesse oblige—or as Superman’s “S” implies, a kind of omniscient superpower. However, leaders in the United States of America are neither absolute rulers nor deities when referred to by initials: The shorthand names of FDR, JFK, and LBJ weren’t imposed from the top so much as they were democratically adopted by their constituents.
Then came “W”: George W. Bush had a problem with his dynastic last name and needed to distinguish father from son without resorting to lineage numerals (apart from the number of the presidency itself). As it happened, “W” evolved into a popular nickname, but I can't imagine Hillary wanting people calling her “H,” or even “HRC," which sounds too much like a bank.