The best political merch: From Clinton’s pantsuit tee to Ron Paul action figures
Looking to support your presidential candidate of choice, but tired of those clichéd red, white and blue campaign buttons?
You’re in luck if you’re a Hillary Clinton booster. The Democratic candidate recently started selling “The Everyday Pantsuit Tee,” a $30 shirt that skewers her infamous go-to fashion choice.
Of course, Clinton’s not the only pol to get a little creative when it comes to campaign merchandise. Here’s a look at some of the other swag being sold on behalf of presidential candidates of the past and present—all a little more memorable than your standard refrigerator magnet.
George H. W. Bush socks
A compelling argument can be made that former President George H. W. Bush has been more beloved out of office than in it. Apart from becoming a golfing buddy of BFF Bill Clinton, he has been noted in the media for skydiving to celebrate his 90th birthday and shaving his head in solidarity with the leukemia-stricken son of one of his security guards.
The elder Bush has also gained notice for his multicolored socks, which became the subject of their own 2014 feature in Time. Recognizing a GOP heirloom when they see one, the good people at the Republican National Committee are selling limited edition socks, complete with the Republican elephant and Bush’s signature embroidered thereupon for $35.
Ted Cruz “right turns only” bumper sticker
Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz has only been a U.S. Senator for three years, but he’s gotten a lot of publicity in that time as a vocal ally of the Tea Party movement. In March 2015, he announced his candidacy for the 2016 election and launched his official website, complete with an official store.
The Official Ted Cruz Store offers the type of merchandise one would expect from a campaign web shop, such as mugs, hats and iPhone cases. But this doesn’t mean that it lacks moxie, as evidenced by the $10 bumper sticker which proclaims that “This vehicle makes right turns only.”
Rand Paul Beats headphones skins
Unlike many other current Republican presidential candidates, Senator Rand Paul has been active in courting the votes of millennials and urban voters (see his “Liberty Bro” vinyl banners). But what single piece of campaign merchandise could he affix his name and campaign logo to in order to successfully ingratiate himself to both demographics?
As if to answer this burning question, the official website of the Rand Paul campaign is selling skins for the headphones of Beats Electronics, a company co-founded by hip hop producer Dr. Dre. According to the product page, a $20 contribution will allow you — the urban, millennial, libertarian-leaning conservative — to “look good listening to your jams with Rand Paul.”
Ron Paul action figure
Former Republican congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul left political office behind in 2013, but he hasn’t stayed quiet. He’s been outspoken on topics ranging from monetary policy to taxes to the militarization of US police forces, particularly taking issue with the Boston Police Department’s response to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
In early 2012, when he last ran for president, he became the subject of his own action figure, which was sold for $95 by an entity known as Revolution PAC. After numerous production problems and delays, some who had ordered the doll in early 2012 finally received them a full year later. The chronology of their mass ordeal is detailed by “SuperSneakySteve” in this YouTube video.
Jeb Bush Flask
The son of George H. W. Bush and brother of George W. Bush, former Florida Governor John Ellis “Jeb” Bush has always been considered a possible contender for the presidency. He has not yet declared his candidacy, but it certainly looks like he’ll run. Indeed, The New York Times is reporting that he’s under increasing pressure to make it official.
Since there’s no official Jeb Bush candidacy, there’s no official Jeb Bush campaign store and, hence, no official Jeb Bush merchandise. But that hasn’t stopped the eager upstarts at Millennials for Jeb from getting into the act with this alcohol flask, a form of memorabilia that was unlikely to ever bear the likeness of Jeb’s teetotaling older brother.
Daniel Bukszpan is a New York-based freelance writer.