Perhaps the ultimate political example of a meme, the slogan, is a simple idea expressed in a sound bite. A successful slogan is catchy, memorable, and expresses a desirable outcome. Also, it doesn’t have to be true. Let’s break down this phenomenon.
A successful political slogan has to have a hook—which, not coincidently, means the same to both a researcher of memes and a political campaign manager. A hook, you may remember, is the part that makes the meme enticing.
For instance, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower became America’s thirty-fourth leader based on a simple slogan: “I Like Ike.” It rhymes. Looking back 60 years, what did it mean? Who knows, but it was easy for people to remember at the ballot box. It’s unclear ...