“America First”: It was one of the more effective campaign slogans in recent memory. Only President Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” could match it in terms of voter awareness and intensity.
The successful employment of both slogans in the context of two very different presidential campaigns speaks to the power of optimism.
For Obama, it was all about the historic breaking of the ultimate glass ceiling. For Trump, it represented a reaffirmation of American exceptionalism — a reminder that only an exceptional country expects to win.
Truth be told, both enjoy a subjective quality. Think about it. “Hope,” “Change,” and “First” qualify as generic, “fill-in-your-definition-and-go-on-your-merry-way” terms — an especially effective quality for campaign message makers.
Back to the initially triumphant and subsequently marginalized “America First.” No motto could have been more appropriate for 2016. Recall that Mr. Obama had indulged his audiences — foreign and domestic — with eight years