Buried in the emails stolen from the account of John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, is a list of 84 proposed “principles/slogans." (The FreeBeacon's Lachlan Markay, who dug it up, graciously counted the total as 85 because it includes “It's your time” twice.)
The list is very Hillary-Clinton-y: exhaustive, often corny and subject to group debate. There are a few broad categories, including “Fighter,” “Future/Forward,” “Fairness/Families” and “Basic Bargain/Making America Work.” The slogans are often riffs on those categories, and they are often very bad. (Donald Trump's slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is also very Trump-y. He settled on it right after Mitt Romney lost in 2012 and then quickly trademarked it.)
As a public service, I wasted a few minutes ranking the proposals from most to least terrible. The actual choice, “Stronger Together,” ended up at 11th on my list, which really isn't that shabby. I assure you that I was not a member of the focus group that weeded through the final options. Where appropriate, I have added comments about why the slogan earned the ranking I gave it. Those are provided in italics.
84. Rise Up. You know who says “rise up”? Robots and Chilean freedom fighters. Who does Clinton want America to rise up against? The moneyed elites in Washington? Probably not. (It has been brought to my attention that this maybe has something to do with the play “Hamilton,” so I'm glad it's in dead last.)
83. Because your time is now. Why not just, “You will soon die; vote Clinton”?
82. It's about time — and it's about you. There's nothing less about me than someone else running for president.
81. Keep moving. The TSA plans to use this for when it runs for president.
80. It's about you. See #82.
79. A fair chance to get ahead.
78. Secure the Future. I believe this is the tagline to a Shailene Woodley movie.
77. Next begins with you. No, it begins with N.
76. You've earned a fair chance.
75. Move ahead. I like to reinforce that America is basically a 320-million-person line at a deli counter.
74. You've earned a fair shot.
73. Putting America to work for you.
72. A fair fight for families.
71. Progress for people. What about ponies?
70. America gets strong when you get ahead. This seems like it could be subject to some awkwardness.
69. Your family is her fight.
68. Time for a better bargain. Head to aisle 8 to learn more.
67. Stronger at home. And then everyone thinks, “weaker abroad.”
66. Your family. Her fight. I'd recommend that candidates avoid the suggestion that they'd like to beat up my family.
65. A fair chance for families.
64. Fairness worth the fight.
63. A stronger America for a new day. This is two slogans, Frankensteined.
62. Your future is her fight. Fight doesn't work in these! But . . .
61. Your future. Her fight . . . this is a better way to formulate it.
60. Putting Fairness First.
59. A promise you can count on.
58. Fighting for Fairness. Fighting for you.
57. Fairness First.
56. American strength from American families. Another bit of advice: Try to avoid Soylent Green/Snowpiercer implications in a campaign slogan.
55. Hillary — For Fairness. For Families. Why this one in particular mandated the inclusion of Clinton's name is a mystery lost to the ages.
54. The ideas we need and the strength to deliver.
53. A better bargain for a better tomorrow.
52. A new promise for a new time.
51. Fairness for all our families.
50. Together we're strong. This is a good example of how slight rewordings can make an idea much better or much stupider.
48 (tie). Building a fairer future today.
48 (tie). Building a fairer future. Why are these separate? Was there a lengthy debate over whether to include “today”?
47. It's your turn. This is what Clinton said to Barack Obama in June 2008, if I remember correctly.
46. Go further.
45. Our Families, Our Future.
44. It's your time.
43. Don't turn back. Good for Halloween.
42. A new bargain we can count on.
41. Strength for all our families.
40. A fair shot and a fair deal. And a chicken in every pot and peace and prosperity and I like Ike.
39. Your future. Your terms. This sounds like the middle of a Verizon ad.
38. A stronger America one family at a time. Starting with . . . [pulls card from hat] . . . the Clintons! Neat!
37. Renewing our basic bargain.
36. Getting ahead together.
35. Progress for the rest of us. This one is pretty close, but the “us” serves as a reminder that the Clintons are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It evokes Clinton walking up to give her first State of the Union address and proposing a “give speeches to big businesses” jobs program.
34. For an America that leads.
33. Unleash opportunity. This is from a BMW ad, I think.
32. Move up. Better than “move forward.”
From this point on, they're a bit better.
31. A fighting chance for families.
30. She's got your back.
29. Progress for all.
28. New Solutions Real Results. The lack of a comma is intriguing.
27. Get ahead. Stay ahead.
26. Lifting us up. Moving us forward.
25. Strength and fairness. This one does seem as if it's from the “Hunger Games.” Though that vibe is sort of hard to avoid, I guess.
24. A stronger America working for you.
23. Real Fairness; Real Solutions.
22. For your family. For America's future.
21. Building a better tomorrow.
20. Making America work. Together.
19. Families first.
18. A better bargain. For all. This would have echoed Trump in a weird way, which I like.
17. America's strength. America's promise.
16. Building tomorrow's America.
15. It's about you. It's about time.
14. Strength you can count on.
13. An America built for you.
12. Moving Ahead. Together.
11. Stronger together. The winner!
10. A future worth fighting for.
9. A new bargain for a stronger America
8. A force for families. Good Lucasfilm tie-in opportunity.
7. Own the future.
6. An America that works for you.
5. Climb higher. This is weirdly so much better than “Move forward,” etc. Maybe because it combines effort with upward progress? It's a good example of the nuance that goes into this nonsense.
4. Renewing America's promise.
3. Making America work for you.
2. A stronger tomorrow. “Tomorrow” versus “together” is probably a subjective call, but I like the future-looking version better than the “we are friends” version.
And the winner:
1. No Quit. This is so jarringly weird that it was really the only good choice. Clinton-Kaine: NO QUIT.
Imagine standing in a suburb outside Columbus, Ohio, and looking up to see Clinton's campaign plane pass overhead. NO QUIT, it shouts at you, with all of the grace and effect of Tony Montana spotting the blimp in “Scarface.” How could you quit after that? And how could you not vote for the person who embodies that principle?
This slogan is the only reason I wrote this article.