In 2016 Donald Trump brought two things to Presidential campaigns which hadn’t really existed before. The first was a rhetorical style which was and still is the most disgusting, stupid, profanity-laced and racist rhetoric that has ever been employed by a candidate for national political office in the United States. The second was the use of social media both to promote his candidacy and to help pay the campaign’s costs.
Trump was the first candidate who copyrighted a campaign logo – MAGA – and then stuck this logo on all kinds of merchandise which he sold and still sells at his rallies and online store. Right now you can buy a MAGA hat on Trump’s website, a bargain at $30 bucks, or a special edition MAGA hat for only $10 dollars more.
Biden has a store on his website too. He’s selling the same kind of crap that’s being peddled by Trump – t-shirts, totes, hats, coffee mugs, and his hat will also cost you only $30 bucks although he doesn’t seem to have a special edition hat. At least, not yet.
So, the Democrats have caught up with the Republicans when it comes to online merchandising their big names. But where the Democrat(ic) Party still lags behind the GOP is using social media not just to promote individual politicians, but to push political ideas and political movements as well.
Yesterday I posted a column about those truckers now sitting outside of D.C. trying to figure out what to do since the money donated for their effort seems to have gone adios. I was disappointed that their website didn’t have an online store, but thanks to the sharp eyes of my sister, I turned out to be wrong. This crap isn’t yet listed on the official convoy website, but it’s being sold everywhere else. If the truckers haven’t copyrighted their logo so they can share the loot, they’re dumber than I thought.
On the other hand, when it comes to using the internet and e-commerce for promoting a brand, the alt-right is still far ahead of our side and the gap is far from being closed. The Breitbart website store has all kinds of crap for sale with various right-wing logos and spiels, some of them even quite funny, such as a t-shirt which advertises the ‘Border Wall Construction Company’ for $25 bucks.
What’s Huffington Post selling in its online store? You can buy sunscreen or eyebrow laminate or products to clean your bathroom, among other things. Except all their products are actually being sold by Amazon, and not a single piece of merchandise carries the Huffington Post name. Why would I waste one second reading about the ‘best’ women’s sneakers on a website which doesn’t even sell the products they recommend?
Maybe the conservatives are right. Maybe liberals are really all Socialists and don’t like capitalism which is why they have such crummy, online stores. Now you would think that people who support strategies to reduce global warming would have enough money left over after buying one of those ugly, Prius cars to spring for a hoodie, or a tote bag, or a set of wine glasses with a logo that promotes all-electric cars.
And by the way, for all the screaming and kvetching about the price of gasoline, since when does the pump price mean anything at all if your hybrid gets 52 mpg? But that’s another story, okay?
I really don’t believe the average shmo votes based on the ‘issues.’ I think that people make up their minds about voting the same way they make up their minds about everything else. If they like it, it’s good. If not, not.
You think that anyone who voted for Trump has the faintest idea of what NAFTA is all about? Gimme a break. Hell, even I don’t know anything about NAFTA, and I have a subscription to The (failing) New York Times.
If the Democrats want to make a decent showing in November, they better get their shit together and come up with some online merchandise that sells.
You think that politics hasn’t become a way to grow the GDP? Think again.