Q of the Week: What Would Your Slogan Be?

J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

On Monday, Democrats unveiled a new agenda, “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future,” that they hope will help them reclaim a majority in Congress. The plan includes emphasizing better-paying jobs, lowering health-care costs, and cracking down on big business. So this week, we asked Politics & Policy Daily readers what their slogan would be if they were drafting a new plan to appeal to Americans. Here’s what they said.

Americans on both sides of the aisle are “tired of politicians helping their millionaire and billionaire buddies get richer,” writes Adam H. from California, so perhaps the best slogan would be “Working for the Working Class”—something Adam says reflects what all Americans want: “someone who is on their side fighting for them.”

In crafting her slogan, Ita Sanders said she’d focus on something containing an “action phrase”:

The “Better Deal” slogan does not inspire positive movement. Look at what came before: Obama: “Yes we can.”  Trump: “Make America Great Again.” The Democrats’ new slogan needs to be an actual call to positive action. Hillary's “Stronger Together” was descriptive—not actually pro-active.

Maggie Mahar from New York would offer “A Better Future for All Americans: Looking Forward, Not Back.” When President Trump promises to make America great again, she writes, “he seems to be looking back to the ’50s. But for more than half of all Americans (women, minorities, seniors) the ’50s was not a  ‘great’ decade.”

Reader Catherine Gwin suggests that the Democrats’ new slogan doesn’t work, because it doesn’t speak to a new governing vision for the country—something she says we desperately need.

The current disputes are largely about the size and shape of the government-provided social safety net that was conceived in response to the Great Depression and has evolved since then to offer assistance to people in times and circumstances of need. While that assistance has been, and remains, critically important for the elderly, the unemployed, and the very poor, it is no longer an adequate public goods and services framework for enabling decent lives under today’s evolving conditions.

Rather, the challenges of our time call for a broader foundation of essential public goods and services that provides opportunity and security for all (in ways responsive to the economic, technological, environmental, and other major changes determining the conditions in which we now live). So far, I haven’t been able to come up with a compelling label or slogan for the new governing vision that I think we need … the best I have come up with is “a foundation of opportunity for all” … or simply “opportunity for all.”

Reader Michael Bernstein of New York would promise something quite similar: “Opportunity and Justice for All.” Here’s why:

We need to invest in the infrastructure that would give all people a fair chance to excel on a level playing field—a field where people can still win big, but where losing won’t mean feeling like you have no way out and need to seek refuge in devastating drugs; won’t mean getting shot for the color of your skin; won’t mean having to choose between a job or your child’s health; won’t mean having to choose between air you can breathe or an easy commute to work; won’t mean having to waste billions on political campaigns and proxies peddling lies to incite the worst parts in each of us to hate each other.

Harvey Cohen’s messaging would be pretty straightforward: “The UNITED States of America.”

It is obvious that we have become a nation so divided that we put individual ideology over what’s best for the country as a whole. Politics has become a divisive, self-centered sport with citizens picking sides and rooting for their own teams. “The UNITED States of America” reminds all of us what truly did make America great and what is really the only way we will be great again.

And Tom Clark, a reader from Arkansas, offered the most concise slogan to appeal to Americans of all political stripes: “Compassion!”