Every presidential campaign requires a slogan – a pithy message in six words or less to convey a candidate’s vision, principles and qualifications to serve as leader of the free world.
It must be an instantly recognizable, easy to remember catchphrase that fits neatly on bumper stickers, posters, campaign literature and as the tagline in television, social media and digital advertising.
Some of the more memorable that have stood the test of time and the rush of history:
• In the 1930’s, Franklin Roosevelt promised a “New Deal” to rescue the country from the depths of the Great Depression.
• Dwight Eisenhower pledged “Peace And Prosperity.”
• John F. Kennedy identified “The New Frontier.”
• Lyndon Johnson vowed to create “The Great Society.”
• Ronald Reagan told the nation “It’s Morning Again in America.”
• George H.W. Bush pledged to turn American’s inate goodness into “A Thousand Points Of Light.”
• Bill Clinton reminded the country “It’s the economy, stupid.”
• Barack Obama guaranteed ”Hope And Change.”
• Donald Trump swore to “Make America Great Again.”
President Biden and his brain trust, facing a deeply divided electorate and increasingly dismal polling results on job performance and issues alike, selected “Bidenomics” and, in the most recent critical iteration “MAGAnomics,” to build his 2024 re-election effort around.
While history shows that previous slogans achieved varying levels of success, “Bidenomics” and “MAGAnomics” were box office bombs.
First, neither is particularly catchy or springs instantly to the minds of listeners as encapsulating the vision, principles or qualities of its subject.
The brain trust, it appears, is playing Scrabble with only 14 tiles to spell only “Bidenomics” or “MAGAnomics.” And, while they can justify both as legitimate words, no matter how often they are used, neither will win the game.
The difficulty for Biden is simply he’s attempting to convince the American people that, due to “Bidenomics,” they are inhabiting an economic utopia.
The disconnect couldn’t be more stark. Seventy percent of Americans believe the economy is worsening; 84 percent cite a rising cost of living; 74 percent describe the economy in scathingly negative terms; his handling of the economy is underwater by 34-59 percent and – most cutting of all – responded Trump would be more successful at dealing with economic issues by 47-36.
Rather than the utopia touted by Biden, Americans view themselves as living in a hellscape of chronic and punishing inflation, gasoline inching towards $4 per gallon while a trip to the supermarket must now include a credit card to help cover the costs of everyday staples and necessities.
The average cost of a new car is nearly $50,000 paid by seven-year loans at an average monthly payment exceeding $700.
The great American dream – owning a home – is exactly that for many Americans. Mortgage interest rates have reached a peak not experienced in decades.
“Bidenomics” demands the president convince Americans to disbelieve their daily experiences, deny what their eyes tell them, and put their faith and hopes in esoteric legislative acts – the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan, for instance – neither of which has had any discernible impact on relieving economic distress.
Biden is fond of describing his economic goal as one to “build from the middle out and the bottom up” – an empty, pointless phrase.
The campaign’s shift to “MAGAnomics” is designed to deflect the popular rejection of “Bidenomics” and portray the Republican approach to restoring economic health as involving deep spending cuts on social programs while providing tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations.
Despite its failure to penetrate the political environment and shift the debate dynamics in the president’s favor, the Biden team remains all in on “Bidenomics.”
Barring a seismic shift in the nation’s economic condition between now and the beginning of the intense campaign season in less than six months, “Bidenomics” is destined for the scrapheap rather than the scrapbook.
Copyright 2023 Carl Golden, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Carl Golden is a senior contributing analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University in New Jersey. You can reach him at cgolden1937@gmail.