Dressing for the election

It’s important for people to look like what they are. Administrators wear suits, chefs wear toques, rock stars let their hair grow out, and Democrats wear the word “Hope” on their T-shirts.

To flaunt your political leanings while supporting your chosen candidate, it’s easiest to go straight to the candidate’s Web site. Both JohnMccain.com and BarackObama.com have a store selling things like apparel, accessories, and car magnets and stickers. The sites also provide links to other sellers that donate all or part of their profit to the respective campaigns.

However, the candidate’s Web sites feature pretty run-of-the-mill merchandise. If you’re looking for something stylish or unique, you’ll need to go somewhere else. The most popular online sites for campaign merchandise are CafePress.com, Ebay.com, and Etsy.com.

CafePress.com in particular is making a big ruckus over their sales of political prints and how they could possibly predict the election’s outcome. “Merchandise sales indicate a great deal of political passion from the American public, and that ‘instant response’ we saw this week proves the Internet is playing a major role in how we participate in elections. That buzz is back,” said CafePress VP of Marketing Amy Maniatis after the organization got an influx of requests for merchandise after the conventions and candidates’ VP choices.

Merchandise can also be found for running mates and more obscure candidates. A picture of the popular Rosie the Riveter, of World War II fame, has been Photoshopped with Sarah Palin’s face, and Ralph Nader and Ron Paul T-shirts are easy to find.

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