The Republican presidential contender is in the news again, but this time, it's because he actually is saying something correctly — or at least correcting himself. Check out this ridiculous "Big League" tank top from Donald Trump's personal presidential campaign store — it's pretty much the exact opposite of "Big League." And it certainly doesn't erase the fact that the candidate has used the adverb "bigly" countless times on air.
The sartorial item in question is a fitted men's white jersey tank top with minimalist Trump branding in the form of a screen-printed "T" logo and the words "#BigLeague" printed underneath. The GOP presidential nominee's web address is found below the hashtag.
The ironic overload is approaching critical mass here. The use of the phrase #BigLeague also serves as a painful reminder that no matter what his doctors claim, the Republican presidential contender's campaign has had a deleterious effect of the integrity of the American English standard. After electoral observers, voters, and reporters were left scratching their heads over the real-estate mogul's use of the adverb "bigly" as a verbal shortcut to describe things like Obamacare and the enduring conflict in Iraq, Trump's now former Trump press secretary Hope Hicks told reporters at Slate that he, in fact, was saying "big league" and not "bigly."
Sure. So, is this tank top actually a serious offering from the Trump-Pence campaign: a way to correct their narrative now and officially connect the phrase "big league" to Trump in the mind of the American voter? Or is it a tongue-in-cheek provocation to the former reality-show star's detractors?
It's probably a bit of both. Trump and his campaign apparatus haven't shied away from courting — even reveling — in negative attention from press and voters alike. Their rationale for doing so is that any and all free press is good press. However, for more cynical observers, this just smacks of another time-tested political tactic: the sprint to the center.
Trump and his supporters may have been able to make quick work of the remnants of the Republican Party during the primary season, but now that the general election fight is underway, Trump and his running mate have a lot of ground to cover if they want to be able to appeal to what is left of the centrists and political moderates here in this country before the general election. Taking over the GOP is one thing, but when less than 30 percent of the country identifies as a Republican, reframing a series of systemic linguistic blunders into a folksy way of talking fast is low-hanging fruit for Trump and his advisors.