The Best and Worst Bootleg Campaign Swag of 2016

The Best and Worst Bootleg Campaign Swag of 2016

Capitalism was at work at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions this summer.
August 1, 2016, 4:15pm

All photos by Pete Voelker

Every modern-day event offers an array of swag for its attendees to purchase, and the 2016 political conventions were no different. While there was official merchandise available inside the security gates, there was also a sea of options available on the streets of Cleveland and Philadelphia last month: Everything from handmade originals to parodies of campaign logos, and even rip-offs of "official merchandise" were being hawked everywhere convention-goers looked.

In Philadelphia, Lynette Bibbee could be found near city hall, hawking sweet-smelling "Bernie" cookies in an effort to pay for her travel back to Washington State. In Cleveland, a few brave souls were bipartisan with their merchandise, selling not only Donald Trump paraphernalia, but also Bernie Sanders-themed merch as well. Others were more creative with their wares, selling T-shirts memorializing Muhammad Ali, Prince, and newly crowned NBA champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, alongside the more standard Trump fare.


At least two of the vendors I spoke to said they'd received cease and desist letters from Trump's campaign—but they didn't seem to have any plans to comply.