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Star Tribune talks to Hendriks about campaign catchphrases

By Kari VanDerVeen
November 9, 2012

St. Olaf College Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Henriët Hendriks tells the Star Tribune that there are patterns regarding which campaign catchphrases last long after the election is over.

"If there's a strong mental image that comes up whenever we hear it, it becomes powerful," Hendriks, a presidential campaign expert, notes in a story titled "Which Campaign Catchphrases Will Catch On?"

She says other elements that make for strong catchphrases include accessible wording — like "flip-flopping" — and a lack of a competing narrative.

Yet Hendriks cautions that while certain phrases have endurance, it's debatable how much influence they wield.

"They shade how we remember these events," she tells the paper, "and it's always easier to have two or three simple explanations for how an election turned out. So, looking back, we might credit these phrases more than they deserve."

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or