How politics became a battle for your attention

Political slogans are as old as democratic politics — by which I mean mass politics, conducted on a national scale, with politicians campaigning for votes over vast physical spaces with the help of modern technologies of communication.

But as with everything else in our digital age, sloganeering has now gone viral, spreading beyond campaign buttons, bumper stickers, and yard signs to shape the policies pushed by sitting presidents, empower officeholders to elevate their personal brands, and give a booming megaphone to activists seeking to enact sweeping change.

Whether the trend is good for democratic politics is another matter.

Political sloganeering has its roots in advertising: The effort by businesses selling things to win the attention of consumers.


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