As Donald Trump’s popularity soared to new heights after his inauguration as the 45th president of the United States in 2017, so has the meaning of his campaign’s infamous slogan, “Make America Great Again (MAGA).”
During Trump’s campaign against opposing presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, the slogan and movement initiated nationwide support for voters to recognize that things needed to change so that America could be reborn once Trump became president.
In spreading this slogan throughout social media and at Trump’s campaign speeches, fans quickly caught onto wearing MAGA apparel and identifying their political opinions through their clothes in order to visibly support their soon-to-be president.
The red MAGA hat became a major signifying factor for the public to identify and show support for President Trump wherever they went. Using the slogan as a personal shield, there were many instances of media coverage that caught supporters mistreating people of color and committing violent attacks against them.
The movement drifted from using the slogan “Make America Great Again” as a unifying, positive message for Trump’s campaign and instead began allowing and accepting that any individual or group wearing MAGA apparel or chanting the slogan could be excused for their poor behavior and aggressive, threatening language.
Commonly associated with intolerant behavior and actions that pick on marginalized groups, the MAGA hats and people wearing them have now become a symbol connected with idealistic views of bigotry and racism.
Beginning with negative and accusatory language from President Trump, his supporters and the public swiftly followed suit with the way people converse and treat one another. There remained no more room for civil discourse, only confrontation.
That’s not to say that every person wearing MAGA apparel will fall into this negative depiction of aggressive Trump supporters. However, unfortunately it seems the phrase “Make America Great Again” has become unanimous with a negative ideology that uses a political platform to cause civil unrest among the public.