Inside the world of Rand Paul swag

In 2008, Shepard Fairey created what The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl called “the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You,’” the depiction of then-Sen. Barack Obama, his face shaded in patriotic hues, captioned “HOPE.” The inescapable image—found on everything from the mundane, like T-shirts, to the risqué, like condom packaging—was immediately iconic, and it arguably helped to increase Obama’s face-ID and propel him to the White House. It only makes sense, then, that 2016 contenders should try to repeat the phenomenon. And so we have “Rand Paul Swag: Take 2016 in Style,” a website that sells products emblazoned with a silhouette of the junior senator from Kentucky’s head. (The website’s logo is a silhouette of Paul’s much-discussed hair.)

Rand Paul Swag was created in 2011—as Ron Paul Swag, to support the then-congressman and presidential candidate—by Trey Stinnett, a 29-year-old self-described “serial-entrepreneur” from Austin, Texas. After the elder Paul was eclipsed by his son, Stinnett rebranded.

“It’s my belief that the left—the Shepard Faireys—has a pretty good hold on art and design, but the right and libertarians don’t,” Stinnett told The Daily Beast. Appalled by the swag selection at Tea Party gatherings (he used to identify with the movement), Stinnett decided to try making his own designs, and he quickly zeroed in on Ron Paul, for whom he used the tag line “Make Liberty Sexy.” “It’s not just swag as in gear and stuff, but it’s swag as in swagger,” Stinnett explained.

In 2013, ahead of the Conserv