Where Does All Election Merch Go Now?
The 2016 presidential election had some of the most memorable promo merchandise that the race for the White House has ever seen. Now that the
The 2016 presidential election had some of the most memorable promo merchandise that the race for the White House has ever seen. Now that the election has come to a close, one of the biggest questions is what will happen to all of that excess campaign merchandise?
As you can imagine, a lot of the campaign merchandise has a high resell value. However, Ron Puechner, president of the American Political Items Collectors, told Market Watch that many campaign managers aren’t concerned with holding onto merchandise or re-selling it.
“For a lot of them, the thought is that the campaign is over and they’ve got to vacate the office by a certain time,” Puechner said to Market Watch.
For this very reason, many collectors will coordinate with local campaign offices to see if they can get any unwanted materials to flip online.
Jason Abel, a counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, said that while federal law requires campaigns to track electoral contributions and expenses, merchandise is usually accounted for as a marketing expense. In short, there’s no need to document what they do with leftover items, like hats, T-shirts or bumper stickers.
While the Trump and Clinton campaigns may be fumbling over what do with leftover promotions, one candidate is on the look out for a quick come up. Gary Johnson’s campaign said it expects a boom in sales for its “I voted for Gary Johnson’ T-shirts”, even though the election is over.
Given this elections’ historic end, our current post-election time period is still a huge opportunity for merchandise vendors. Abel notes that candidates are allowed to continue selling merchandise to offset any debt, but there’s little belief that either the Clinton or Trump camps would do so.
If history is any indicator of the excess merch’s fate, 2012 Romney-Ryan T-shirts ended up being donated to the needy in countries, like Kenya.
Like anything else, rarity is a primary thing that drives value. Limited edition items, like buttons can be worth a lot in the long run.
“National buttons sold through campaign websites are made in the thousands and tend not to be as valuable,” Puechner said.