Donald Trump’s 2020 Campaign Slogan Is, No Joke, the Tagline From ‘The Purge: Election Year’
This is real life. After insisting that he’ll “Make America Great Again” throughout his 2016 campaign, president-elect Donald Trump is already trying to trademark the slogan for his re-election campaign in 2020: “Keep America Great.” If that phrase sounds at all familiar to you, that’s because it was the tagline for The Purge: Election Year — James DeMonaco’s horror sequel which envisions a dystopia where the government is controlled by far-right conservatives and all crime, particularly murder, is legal for one night every year.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump discussed the origins of his “Make America Great” slogan, which he shrewdly trademarked. Unprompted, Trump proceeded to reveal his genius idea for a 2020 re-election campaign slogan, seemingly unaware (but who knows, really) that it has already been used as a tagline — for a horror film that satirizes far-right conservative politics:
“Are you ready?” he said. “ ‘Keep America Great,’ exclamation point.”
“Get me my lawyer!” the president-elect shouted.
Two minutes later, one arrived.
“Will you trademark and register, if you would, if you like it — I think I like it, right? Do this: ‘Keep America Great,’ with an exclamation point. With and without an exclamation. ‘Keep America Great,’ ” Trump said.
If only someone could capture his lawyer’s reaction when, upon attempting to trademark this brilliant slogan, he discovers that it was the tagline for a film that depicts conservatives like Trump as dystopian boogeymen who go to violent lengths to retain their status as the ruling class. The Purge: Election Year already felt more like an observant, borderline-prescient allegory than a horrific political satire, but Trump’s incoming presidency makes that border line seem increasingly thin (no pun intended).
But let’s be honest here: Sharing a campaign slogan with last year’s Purge sequel is the sort of spectacularly surreal, snake-unwittingly-eating-its-own-tail piece of news that has become weirdly unsurprising in Trump’s America.
(By the way, former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used “Let’s Make America Great Again!” as campaign slogans; a fact that Trump insists he was unaware of until after he trademarked his own slogan — sort of like when Darren Aronofsky insisted he never saw The Red Shoes before he made Black Swan.)