It legit makes me laugh. How often can you say that about campaign apparel, especially campaign apparel offered by a sitting president?
But this seems to be part of Team Trump’s developing strategy lately to its online campaign store: Maximum trollishness, in keeping with the spirit of the man himself.
And it seems to me like a shrewd fundraising strategy. If you’re the sort of person who’d conceivably shell out $34 for political paraphernalia, you don’t want some boring old Trump/Pence logo. You want to own the libs. That’s what Trumpism is all about. That’s what the modern GOP is all about, for that matter.
What better lib to own than one of CNN’s most irritating anchors?
That’s not even the funniest/most trollish shirt Trump has offered this week. His campaign and Mitch McConnell’s teamed up yesterday on an instant classic of the “own the libs” genre to promote the new GOP online fundraising hub, WinRed:
I’m surprised Team Mitch isn’t selling a shirt of Merrick Garland’s face X’ed out over the caption “DENIED.” Maybe they’re saving that one for the heat of the campaign next year.
Politico noticed Team Trump’s “own the libs” merchandise gimmicks a few weeks ago. It started serendipitously, when Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale accidentally tore an eco-friendly paper straw he was using. When he complained, his wife suggested exploiting his grievance as merchandise. Soon after Trump-branded plastic straws were on sale in the campaign store — and immediately sold out. At that point it was a simple matter for Parscale and his team to find other right-wing cultural grievances and cash in on them. Fox News and conservative talk radio have been doing it for years. Why shouldn’t the president’s campaign, especially if they can have a laugh while doing it?
The ploy was part of a strategy to stoke and validate the grievances of Trump’s base — and then turn them into hard cash. The effort centers around novelty merchandise items the reelection campaign has been hawking on its website, including “Pencil-Neck Adam Schiff” T-shirts lampooning the Democratic congressman and Trump antagonist as a clown; “I Spy Trump” tees and tanks depicting the commander in chief being snooped on by former President Barack Obama; and, most recently, the plastic straws. The Trump 2020 online store has marketed the offering as an alternative to the more environmentally friendly “liberal paper straws” that “don’t work.”…
“We kind of let the news cycle pop,” said Gary Coby, the campaign’s digital director, “and when we have an idea around it, we just go”…
Trump officials point out that more than half of those who’ve purchased straws had never previously given to the president’s campaign. The campaign can return to those people later for additional donations — or to purchase more gear.
They’ve raised no less than $670,000 in straw sales in just a month, WaPo reported this morning. The “first-time buyer” effect is especially ingenious, as there are bound to be righties out there who have little use for Trump but might not be able to resist a t-shirt goofing on Chris Cuomo or Adam Schiff or some other left-wing irritant. Trump is turning them into donors through the power of trolling.
In lieu of an exit question, I offer you two tweets. Make of them what you will.
I say good for @ChrisCuomo
He’s out with his 9 year old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jackass in front of his family.
Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology. https://t.co/VnyMNgz14U
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 13, 2019
It always happens! When a Conservative does even a fraction of what Chris Cuomo did with his lunatic ranting, raving, & cursing, they get destroyed by the Fake News. But when a Liberal Democrat like Chris Cuomo does it, Republicans immediately come to his defense. We never learn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2019