New Nicknames, Old Issue for the Current U.S. Presidential Campaign Playground

New Nicknames, Old Issue for the Current U.S. Presidential Campaign Playground

Perhaps it is something we all learned on the playground, either directly or indirectly – nicknames matter. And sadly, for our country today, no one is more aware of this fact than the current democratic and republican campaigns.

When Richard Nixon was running for the Senate in 1950, his nickname “Tricky Dick” cast a label on him he was never able to shake completely, and essentially stopped his political career dead in its ugly tracks at that time. It was a pejorative image he was never quite able to shake. More recently, the “Slick Willie” nickname for Bill Clinton did little to enhance is public image while both in and out of office. A terrible nickname is a very very difficult thing to shake.

As if the current presidential campaign wasn’t replete enough with mudslinging statements, why not add the precedent of presidential nicknames to the current mix, here in May? The Clinton campaign recently and intentionally decided to nickname Donald Trump “The Presumptuous Nominee”. Earlier, Trump nicknamed Michigan Governor Elizabeth Warren “Goofy” and “Goofus.”

Have we learned nothing from American Political history? What about the long-forgotten impact of a positive nickname like “Honest Abe?” These long-living monikers are terms of endearment, and are well-earned. At this point in the process, even a neutral nickname like “Light-bulb Lyndon”, given to President Lyndon B. Johnson due to his hatred of wasting electricity would be a nickname in the right direction.

Given the current penchant for negative rhetoric out of both campaigns, it is highly unlikely we will see any affirming and uplifting nicknames for either candidate. How encouraging would it be for our country if we as a nation could believe the two current contenders were nicknamed “Honest Hillary” and “Dependable Donald”?

Perhaps the current state of affairs brings back a very old nickname into play, once given to John Adams: “Sink or Swim.” Both current campaigns seem very intent on sinking rather than swimming.

Maybe everything we were supposed to unlearn began on the playground. Regardless, it is very difficult to imagine either current candidate being referred to in American history as “The Father (or Mother) of Our Country.”

Nicknames matter. And the current election campaign is a very sad and poignant middle-school lever reminder as to why.

Leave a Reply

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