MAGA v. DADA?

  • motto

Those who plan to investigate the behavior of collectives will encounter the phenomenon of successful mottoes. An example is the MAGA motto: “Make America Great Again.” It is of course not just a political slogan. Given the number of red caps on which it is propagated at rallies, it also has an economic interest that enjoys protection as a trademark. The press in the US has also noticed this. To quote something from the Time of January 8, 2018, written by Chris Wilson:

On Nov. 19, 2012 — two weeks after Mitt Romney lost the presidential election to Barack Obama — a non-profit named Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. submitted a trademark application for the phrase “Make America Great Again.” Since Trump submitted that trademark, which was approved, there have been at least 280 applications for phrases resembling his core campaign slogan […] All told, 42 have been approved, 64 rejected or withdrawn, and the rest are awaiting a verdict from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office […] About half of the applications take the form of “Make [Something] Great Again” while most of the rest take the form “Make America [Some Adjective] Again.” A final 35 modify both variables, such as “Make Austin Weird Again” or “Make Hip-Hop Timeless Again.”

The trademark protection of a political slogan is a significant symptom of a democracy that is confused in the problems of mixing public and private spheres.

In a motto-based consideration of American political culture, I think that what is meant by the American Dream has so far been insufficiently trademarked. I wonder what would happen if Kamela Harris put the DADA motto “Dream American Dream Again” on the map by registering it as a trademark. (I recommend omitting the obligatory “the” to increases the chances of brand recognition and leaving the option to read a silent comma between American and Dream.)

I imagine there will be a legal joust in which (representatives of) Trump object to the recognition of the DADA motto as a political trademark based on the degree to which it resembles the MAGA motto. I eagerly await the arguments that are and will be exchanged.