Make America Great Again. Really?

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

23 February 2017

Make America Great Again. Careful what you ask for.

The lets’ Make America Great Again brand is a perfect example of a slogan. Not a brand. Slogans get repeated and brands are real. Brands are a culture and they become vivid when the adherents make it real.

So, Make America Great Again begs a few brand questions.

When was America Great Before?

Make America Great AgainIf you believe the slogan, then we need to define its origins. Was America great three years ago (when Obama was President)? Was America great 15 years ago (when W was President)? Was it great 25 years ago when Clinton was President? Of course, I know the answer. Reagan was President. We are talking about the 80s.

Facts don’t bare this myth out. But, I know that part of a brand’s power lives in the myth. Believe it to be true and it might have well have been true.

I like and admire Reagan

I just don’t think he was a saint. A good man? Absolutely. Did he love the US and try his best? No question. Was America great again under his presidency? That’s entirely up to you. Nothing I can say or quote will change your mind one way or the other. Here is a link to some of the facts from that time. Don’t bother clicking on it if Reagan is a deity to you. It will just be blasphemy and I will be your latest idiot.

Greatness is not necessarily Sainthood.

Remember the Contra arms deal?

Some things improved. Some got worse

Brand adherents are worse than televangelists. Nothing hits home like an attack on any brand in which you invest. That’s because brands are not outside of you. They ARE you. Brands contain the adherents’ own DNA. They are not rational attachments. They are emotional. Believe it and they DON’T have to be true.

This is true of ALL brands. Not just political ones.

What constitutes the effort to make America Great Again?

Our businesses would flourish. We would have more friends internationally than enemies. Our incomes would grow. We would project strength and resolve all over the globe. Our unemployment rate would shrink. We would be proud of our brand and the world would admire it.

We would represent fairness and goodness throughout the world. They would see us as principled and reliable. They would respect us. We would be steadfast. We would be examples of freedom and conscience.

“A great America is respected, not feared. It is fair, trustworthy, honorable and constitutional.”

NPR had a story on this morning. The Look for the Union Label jingle played.

For those of you that don’t quite remember it, you can listen to it now.


So, when we Make America Great Again, should we be buying American? I think so. But to make the brand real, should we not also ensure that Americans have a living wage for the work they do?  Should we buy American products even when they are more expensive or should we beat a path to Walmart’s doors?

A Great America is honorable

Make America great AgainMy vision for a great America is not so different from yours. I think all good things are worth sacrificing for. It’s not a zero-sum game.

I want to see our international brand respected and not feared. I would like to see a steady hand in charge. I want to disagree with conventional wisdom.

Here is an example of how we lie to ourselves.

I think the minimum wage should increase. I think if you work full-time you should not be in poverty. The argument against this conjures thoughts of McDonald’s.

Unions were part of what made America great..

What is in our own self-interest?

Higher wages mean higher prices

The argument is that paying higher salaries to McDonald’s counter workers would hurt sales and cost jobs.

Did you know that the US government subsidizes those workers with food stamps and other benefits? Because they are under the poverty line? So, in fact, the stock shareholders of McDonald’s don’t pay their workers for the job they do. No. We taxpayers do. God forbid we should attempt to ask a corporation to dip into its profits to do so. It’s a game of lie, cheat and steal. We all condone it.

Union, resolve, strength, restraint and freedom

Make America Great AginI know how to make America great again. It’s called responsibility and accountability. It’s not hate speech and selfish agendas. It asks that we learn from history and not ignore it.

My family immigrated from Ireland. Labeled low-lifes and dangerous, the Irish emigrants were portrayed in political cartoons that the Irish were the missing link between humans and apes.



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