As the campaign trail for the 2016 Republican candidates heats up amidst controversial comments, divisive topical issues and an abundance of media coverage, two representatives of the GOP stand at the top of the collective heap: real estate mogul Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Recently, polls in Iowa asking the public who would be the more ideal candidate showed Carson ahead of Trump 28 to 20, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, and 28 to 19, according to the Des Moines Register. This is momentarily disrupting the near-definite hold Trump had over the voting public since he announced his bid for office early this summer.
While normally this could be seen as a fluctuation of public opinion, the results from Iowa may have greater significance than originally anticipated from the Iowa caucus, one of the main factors towards deciding the Republican party’s representative and a pseudo-representative of the nation’s overall thoughts.
One of the main issues Republican detractors of Trump have had about his bid for candidacy that Carson supposedly maintains throughout, is whether or not he is really conservative. When Trump initially announced his political intentions, radio host Glenn Beck denounced him as “not a true conservative,” citing his overall rhetoric and his nature in the past to continually switch stances on key issues, such as abortion and tax reform.
By contrast, the former neurosurgeon has garnered a plethora of support from the Christian community for his theology and his willingness to defend it in public areas, such as on the morning talk show, The View. Consider his rough upbringing and rise to prominence overnight through sheer word of mouth against a playing field of candidates who, for the most part, have been figureheads in the government, and you have a candidate who appeals to a wide generation of conservatives.
With so much confusion as to where Trump lies on the liberal-conservative spectrum, one has to ask, “How could he have appealed to the Republican audience greater?” His slogan, perhaps, would have been a start.
Trump’s slogan for his candidacy, “Make America Great Again,” is a slogan that is short, sweet, and to the point, yet it could have been better. His slogan brings a rather pessimistic view of current America, depicting it as a nation that needs a reconfiguration or overhaul. In short, a nation that is not “great.”
Contrast it with Carson’s slogan, “Heal. Inspire. Revive.” and you get a sense for who this man is, his ideals (whether you agree with them or not) and his intent, which is to rejuvenate our country while inspiring for greater and loftier goals. It keeps a sense of optimism that is made better by the fact that the man behind it is considered to be a true Republican. So, what could Trump have changed?
One word: Keep.
If Trump had changed his slogan to “Keep America Great” (or if he fancies four word phrases, “Keep America Great Again”), then there would have been less ambiguity about where he lies on the conservative scale.
It now becomes a slogan about preservation, about maintenance rather than remodeling. It also becomes a metaphorical tribute to Theodore Roosevelt, the former president who fought to preserve our nation’s forests and lands and battled for a “square deal for every man.” Now, while a well-informed voter could still look at his past political views and still deride him as a pseudo-Republican, the slogan itself would have appealed to a wide array of patriotic Republicans who have unwavering support for our nation and want to see the best out of it, even with its occasional peaks and valleys.
It’s simple, yet effective, and could have garnered Trump even more support in a race that has now become close.
It’s interesting to see how one word could have made a difference in Iowa, and possibly the entire presidential race.
Chandler, a Middle Grades Education major from Icard, is an opinion writer.