Every politician wants a simple campaign slogan that speaks to the hearts of the people and showcases their qualities for office. A powerful and memorable slogan can be effective in promoting a campaign. Many my age remember Barry Goldwater’s slogan — In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right. Of course, just as many recall the opposition’s spin on that one — In Your Guts, You Know He’s Nuts.
In processing the papers of John West, former governor and ambassador to Saudi Arabia, we discovered a list of over fifty slogans considered by West in his 1970 bid for governor. It was fascinating and we’ve exhibited the list on a number of occasions. Some must have earned a quick head shake, like Turn West and Build South Carolina. West ultimately selected a simple slogan that spoke to the difference he saw between his candidacy and that of his Republican opponent, Albert Watson. West ultimately chose Elect a Good Man Governor.
Race relations was a key concern in South Carolina and across the nation in 1970. The issue of busing particularly captured the country’s attention. The gubernatorial campaign highlighted strong ideological differences between the two candidates. Watson wore a white necktie to signal his stand on segregation. By contrast, West was a progressive. Famously, he had challenged the Klan while serving in the state Senate. His slogan could be read in two ways — he was a good candidate in that he was well-qualified to lead South Carolina, and he was a good man who would work for all South Carolinians. West won the election with 53.2% of the major party vote. Surely his “good slogan” played at least a small part in his victory.
South Carolina has seen any number of memorable slogans. Olin Johnston’s Roll In With Olin became a song as well as his slogan. He also campaigned under the slogan Service, Seniority, Sobriety. Johnston neither drank nor smoked. Daughter Liz Patterson’s slogan, A Career of Helping People, reminded voters of her lifelong devotion to improving the lives of others as a Peace Corps worker, VISTA organizer, Head Start coordinator, and public official.
And, I’ll end with another favorite, Performance is Better than Promise. Fritz Hollings used this slogan for decades. It emphasizes his distinguished record of achievement making government work for the people while maintaining a sound fiscal structure.
We’d love to hear your favorite slogans!