Shopping for a 2020 Candidate
So, you want to rep your Democratic Presidential candidate of choice? With a field of 20+ contenders there are plenty of options. But what are the hopefuls selling? I created a little database of every campaign item from each 2020 store for each nominee. All to see who is selling what to potential voters. During the exercise I found some pretty interesting differences across the field.
Campaign stores are neat because they signal how much a campaign is willing to spend on swag to sell and the stores indicate what types of goods or clothes they think their supporters will want to buy.
Warren emerges as a front runner for number of items available for sale. Fifty of these items are state customized T-shirts, and she’s the only candidate with this sort of state by state offering. She’s also the only candidate who sells an apron, a “Persist Responsibly” pint glass, and a tumbler. Her merchandising prowess has been noted, and beyond her official store legions of supporters on etsy.com make and sell pro-Warren gear.
Overall Delaney also has the most affordable gear for purchase with an average price point of $7, while Andrew Yang tops the chart with an average of $36. Though this is due to him being the only candidate that sells a Tabling/Grassroots kit, “designed for any Yang individual or group looking to kick-off their grassroots efforts in style”.
Biden, Buttigieg, Gillibrand, Harris, Moulton, and Warren all want your babies in on the action, each of them sell onesies that range from $18-$29.99. Nearly everyone wants coffee drinkers but those mugs can cost you. Bennet sells his for a reasonable $12, but mugs from Biden, Warren, and Williamson each go for $25.
Some candidates who are thought to be less competitive (De Blasio and Bullock) don’t even sell a single piece of swag for would be supporters from their online stores. But for those that do, candidates have a decent spread in pricing strategies. While pricing at $20.20 seems like an on the nose idea, only John Delaney uses that tactic for his T-shirts. T-shirt prices range from his low of $20.20 to the next lowest $24.99 shirt from Tulsi Gabbard to a high of $32.99 for Kamala Harris’s set of tees. Harris is the only candidate who charges more for bigger sizes 2XL is $31.99 while 3XL is 32.99 compared to the XS-XL price of $29.99, but she’s also one of the only candidates who offers sizes in XL+ on nearly every item. Most candidates use round numbers for merchandise, but Harris and Gabbard use the retail strategy of ending prices in .99 cents.
While on the topic of T-shirts anyone who has bought campaign clothes before knows that the one style fits “all” type of t-shirt usually fits men frames better than women frames. Wising up to this fact, most but not all candidates offer what they call “fitted” or “ladies” t-shirts with cuts more suited to smaller frames and woman proportions. As a share of shirts offered, 7 candidates offer each shirt they sell in two different cuts — meaning 50:50 men to women, yet 6 choose to only sell that ubiquitous boxy standard Gildan style tee.
Scoping these shops was a fun way to spend the day. I got to see a lot of neat things. My favorite shirt style came from Castro with his Adios Trump and El Presidente options. I gasped when I saw Moulton’s vulgar F*ck it shirt, and while I don’t think I know anyone who would want shoelaces, I giggled to see that Swallwell offers a pair. John Delaney was my overall favorite with the most well suited 2020 election (anxiety) assortment of items; he’s the only one to sell golf balls (3 pack for $20.20), a set of poker cards, a “memory” eraser, an athletic water bottle, a stress grip, a bottle opener, and stemless wine glasses.
Whoever you choose to cheer for, this is by far the fullest field for the left. If ever there was a time to buy and wear political totes, shirts, or tanks it is now, as there are over 600 items for sale across all the candidates, so shop away.