Dem 51
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GOP 49
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The Word Cup, Part XII: Group F (Presidential Campaigns, from World War II to the End of the 20th Century), Round Two

We've been bursting with content (and still have a ton of stuff on the back burner), but we really have to get this show on the road because the NCAA Tournament is around the corner and we want to do another 64-entry bracket this year.

Anyhow, here's the fifth set of results. Recall that since ties are relatively common in soccer, we've decided that any matchup decided by less than 5% of the vote will count as a tie (winners in bold):

Slogan 1 Pct. Slogan 2 Pct.
Give 'em Hell, Harry! 48.7% I Like Ike 51.3%
Give 'em Hell, Harry! 54.7% In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts 45.3%
Give 'em Hell, Harry! 49.8% Let's Make America Great Again 50.2%
I Like Ike 61.9% In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts 38.1%
I Like Ike 55.9% Let's Make America Great Again 44.1%
In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts 40.4% Let's Make America Great Again 59.6%

That produces these results for Group F:

Slogan W L T
I Like Ike 2 0 1
Give 'em Hell, Harry! 1 0 2
Let's Make America Great Again 1 1 1
In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts 0 3 0

"I Like Ike" and "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" make the cut.

Here are reader comments on this round:

N.L. in Auston, TX: Your comment on how "I Like Ike" may not be the most effective of presidential campaign slogans, because it says absolutely nothing in practice about Eisenhower, made me think: While I had never heard of "Madly with Adlai" before (and now suspect I have pronounced his name wrong for years), I've read the Stevenson campaign's far more effective rebuttal to the slogan, even if it didn't actually save their candidate, was saying "But What Does Ike Like?"

E.G. in Lake Forest Park, MA: I had to vote for "I Like Ike," although "Let's Make America Great Again" obviously had a lot of impact with influencing 40 years of Republican talking points, as you point out. My dad was a young elementary school student in 1952 and has many times over the years recalled how the crossing guards (also elementary school students) would not allow anyone to cross the street unless they declared, "I like Ike!" first. Young children are usually not aware of or repeating presidential slogans. Also, even if Eisenhower was already popular, the repetition of this slogan likely reinforced positive feelings about him.

R.E.M. in Brooklyn, NY: My political Science studies (known as Course XVII at the Institute) focused on American politics and media, including political advertising research I did with the MIT News Study Group. But even I had forgotten about "In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts." The LBJ slogan I remember was, "In Your Heart, You Know He Might"—that is, might start a nuclear war, reinforced by the (in)famous "Daisy" ad. It rhymed with the original slogan, too, which adds to the impact.

As for Reagan, "Let's Make America Great Again," was never in my consciousness, and I followed that election very closely.

J.M. in Stamford, CT: I like "I like Ike." I've always liked "I like Ike" and so has everyone else. Hands down winner on all counts. To criticize it strictly to make the contest seem like a contest, on the grounds that it "says nothing about governance or policy," makes one look around and wonder how any of the other three contestants do anything like that. To a man (and anti-man), they are about the candidate's personality, not his presidential platform.

Okay, "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" Is almost as good on euphony grounds, and on capturing Truman's ability to come off feisty and homespun when he needed to.

I accept your assurance that Reagan ran on the proto-MAGA slogan you illustrate with a button, but I remember that campaign and I don't remember that slogan at all. Not a contender in my book, therefore. But at least it's better than...

"In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts," which is a wonderful bit of American political humor, and pricks the smarmy and self-righteous balloon of "In Your Heart You Know He's Right" just about perfectly. However, it's an anti-presidential slogan, not a presidential slogan, contrary to the principle illustrated by the other three. Had you offered the correct one, "In Your Heart You Know He's Right," I would have put it above the Reagan mash-up, easily competitive with Truman's button that takes basically the same position: vulgar or extreme invective in a righteous cause is praiseworthy (and vote-worthy).

But I still like Ike. Three str-Ikes and the others are out.

C.J.A. in Tucson, AZ: This is the slogan that I remember the most: "Don't switch dicks in the middle of a screw, stick with Nixon in '72"!

A.G. in Plano, TX: Admittedly I've never heard "Dick Nixon before he Dicks you," which had me laughing for five solid minutes. It reminds me of the great Pat Paulsen's campaign slogan: "I've upped my standards, now up yours!"

There will be a new ballot tomorrow. For now, if you have suggestions as to what the subject of the NCAA Tournament-style bracket should be this year, let us know We did something rather negative last year (worst political figure in America), so we'd like something more positive (or at least neutral this year). It need not be people, incidentally. (Z)

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