The best and worst merch of the 2020 presidential campaign trail

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Hideous Merch 2020
Hideous Merch 2020
Image: ; mashable composite: shutterstock; JOHNDELANEY.COM; JOEBIDEN.COM; MARIANNE2020.COM

In case you haven’t heard, a bunch of people are running for president.

There are already more than 20 candidates campaigning for the 2020 election, which means the American people have a lot of policy positions to research, a lot of campaigns to follow, and of course, a lot of merch to consider purchasing.

In hopes that everyone is far too busy reading up on the candidates and the issues they stand for to check out each online merch store, I’ve taken the liberty of doing it for you.

Though there’s certainly more to an election than merch, a candidate’s online shop can be very telling. Some candidates offer merch for babies and pets, despite them being unable to vote, which is kind. Others feature hideous color schemes and ridiculous puns on their sites.

From mortifying accessories to shirts so good you’ll want to order them in bulk, here’s a look at all the merch on the 2020 campaign trail so far.

The most embarrassing merch

To kick things off let’s get the most mortifying merch out of the way. Candidates, if you’re reading this list I’m not saying all of your merch is bad, but I will admit certain items had me shaking my head at my screen wondering if you even really WANT to be president.

John Delaney

First up? John Delaney, who perhaps has the most absurd merch in this race aside from Donald Trump. Behind the buff exterior of this dude running for president lies a man shamelessly obsessed with puns. Did you see it coming? I sure didn’t. Delaney’s entire store is full of forcibly cheesy merch descriptions and unique Delaney “accessories,” like stress grips, playing cards, and an ERASER. Ugh.

Joe Biden 

Listen, the former VP’s logo is not great. We all know it. But I vowed to remain unbiased and wasn’t about to let my annoyance with the incomplete “E” in JOE impact my merch judging. I found Biden’s shop to be almost completely tolerable. However, the corny “Cup O’ Joe” mug and the “Totes for Joe” tote bag are impossible to ignore. Joe? More like no.


Eric Swalwell

Like Biden, Swalwell — who occasionally looks like Dennis Quaid in some of the videos on his website — almost escaped the bad merch list. But the man simply had to offer campaign-themed shoelaces featuring the hashtag #SWALWELLING, though, and for that I must call him out. 

Donald Trump

I mean, the current president has 14 freaking pages of merch, ranging from apparel and hats, to signs and gifts.Some items — such as mugs, stickers, and shirts adorned with his own tweets, and several pieces of “No Collusion” and “Witch Hunt” merch — are especially unhinged, even for Trump. Here’s a peek at the embarrassing shop.

Marianne Williamson 

Williamson went for an unconventional pink, purple, white, and blue color scheme in her merch, which I will admit was refreshing. Her font choice and the decision to print her name on a single mug seven times in a row, on the other hand, are ridiculously overwhelming. My eyes!

Andrew Yang 

Apologies to the “Yang Gang” but as an English major I simply am not here to rep MATH. Yang’s merch also kind of gives the impression he loves math more than America, so it’s a pass for me.


The bland-but-fine merch

This section is reserved for those candidates with fairly conventional merch. Some of the stuff is absolutely fine. There’s apparel you could stand to be seen in, and decals you genuinely wouldn’t mind putting on your car. The merch is simply nothing to get abnormally excited over.

Cory Booker 

Booker isn’t currently selling anything embarrassing, and his blue, red, white, and black theme is a nice change of pace from traditional patriotic colors. But I will say there are not many options in his shop, which makes things kind of dull.

Kirsten Gillibrand 

Gillibrand has a similar color scheme of pink, black, blue, and white going on in her store, and while she does have some basic “Gillibrand 2020” options, she switches things up a little with some funkier shirt designs. Overall, OK.

Michael Bennet

Bennet’s keeping things safe with some of the blandest, most boring merch around. He might not be drawing any gazes, but he’s also not annoying anyone with his basic shirts and totes, which I guess is one approach.

Julián Castro

Honestly? Castro has some pretty fun stuff in his online store. Nothing’s too out of the ordinary, though, so I’m putting him here. No offense, the 2020 merch bar is simply set very high.

Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi’s merch page isn’t outright offending anyone, but it’s an absolute snooze fest and compared to everyone else’s the formatting sucks.


Kamala Harris

I won’t lie, Kamala has some nice merch. Good color scheme, good button design, and an entire Pride line, too! No complaints here, some merch is just better.

Amy Klobuchar

Props to Klobuchar for introducing the 2020 presidential race to the color green, but the merch is all fairly standard. Nothing to get giddy over. 

Bernie Sanders

I’m honestly a little surprised Bernie didn’t take bigger risks with his merch. A few odes to college and medicare for all, but only two “Feel the Bern” options? Playin’ it safe, dude.

Jay Inslee

Climate action merch. Get your climate action merch, here — and basically nothing else. We need some range, sir!


Seth Moulton

Moulton appears to be another basic boy. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing exceptionally right with it either. This is the presidency we’re talking about! You don’t have to make shoelaces or anything, but try to distinguish yourself a little bit, eh?

Tim Ryan

Ryan’s merch? Also fine, but definitely lacks originality and screams, “I am an American man running for President of America and here is some red, white, and blue to prove it.”

John Hickenlooper 

Purple mountains majesty combined with white and blue make for lovely logos. Hickenlooper’s merch is pleasing to the eye, and almost makes up for his long last name! He also offers a beanie, which is good.

The best of the best

More than 20 people are currently running for president, but according to my calculations, only three have gone above and beyond the call of merch duty. Here is the holy merch trinity of 2020 — “The Big Three” as This Is Us would call them.

Beto O’Rourke

The second you open Beto O’Rourke’s all-black online store, you can’t help but feel a cool vibe. O’Rourke took a risk when he chose not to include any nod to traditional patriotic reds or blues in his campaign theme, but he somehow made a line of badass merch from his Whataburger-inspired logo. Plus, Beyoncé would not have been caught dead in his merch if it wasn’t good.

Pete Buttigieg 

I’m fairly certain Buttigieg has given more thought to his marketing (and South Bend-inspired color scheme) than anyone else in the race.Hisstore is full of modern styles and fonts, he just released a glorious line of Pride gear, and he lets everyone know once and for all how to pronounce his name with bold “BOOT EDGE EDGE” apparel. You can’t even get mad at the slightly corny shirt that includes Buttigieg’s dogs, Buddy and Truman, or the “Chasten for First Gentleman” shirt, because they’re both genuinely funny and the dogs and Chasten are all extremely lovable.

Elizabeth Warren

After much research, the vote (me) is in and I’m pleased to announce that Elizabeth Warren has been elected President of Merch.

Warren’s merch is overwhelmingly great. Her impressively stocked online store features something for everyone — from Pride merch, to merch empowering women, to mugs supporting the middle class and unions, to shirts for each state.

Warren varies her slogans and color schemes, and even has some fun items like a bandanna for those who want to show her dog some support, a beer glass that encourages responsible drinking, and an iconic apron. Step up, everyone else.

A look at Elizabeth Warren’s merch.

The missing merch

Sadly, Steve Bullock, Wayne Messam, Bill Weld, Mike Gravel, and the recently announcedBill de Blasio are currently lacking in the merch department. Gravel appears to be selling his book on his website, but his lack of merch is understandable since it’s noted he’s running as a way to get in on the debate rather than to win. As for the others listed above, their online stores are either non-existent or very, very inaccessible.

Merch is not everything, and should never out-weigh a person’s policies when deciding which candidate to vote for. But it’s also is a great opportunity for candidates to showcase their tastes and a more personal side of themselves, so it’s nice to see those who put in some extra effort. 

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