Kentucky Democrats Raise $200K on 'Moscow Mitch' Merchandise
In something of a role reversal for Mitch McConnell, whose own campaign made a pretty penny on "Cocaine Mitch" gear earlier this year, the Kentucky Democratic Party is cashing in big time on "Moscow Mitch" merchandise. The nickname first came about after Democrats grew concerned over the Kentucky Republican and Senate Majority Leader's reported inaction over election security following Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report that Russian officials had attempted to interfere with U.S. elections and likely would again in the future.
In protest, and as a way to raise a few bucks, the Kentucky Dems started up a "Moscow Mitch" web store, offering T-shirts, a brass Moscow Mule mug, a shot glass, stickers, buttons and a Cossack hat. It's been wildly successful, too, as the party stated that it raised more than $200,000 in a span of two days since it launched.
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) August 3, 2019
"The campaign has really caught the imagination of voters in Kentucky and across the country for obvious reasons," Kentucky Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa McNee said in a press release. "At a time when election security is on the minds of top law enforcement and national security experts, Mitch McConnell alone stands in the way of important bipartisan legislation. People are sick of it, and this is their way of expressing their outrage."
The press release also said that the money was raised via more than 5,500 unique orders.
As the 2020 presidential election cycle heats up, we're seeing more and more of this kind of merchandise. It's something of an off-shoot of the merchandise of the internet age. That is to say that candidates are not only capitalizing on quips they make during speeches or debates, or using meme-like inside jokes to sell themselves. They're using the verbal accusations du jour to boost their own fundraising efforts as well as sway public opinion in their favor. Or, in the case of the Trump Campaign, using merchandise as a way to directly counter an opposing political ideology.
Even as the 2020 Democratic field for president thins out, we're likely to see a huge increase in merchandise like this. At first, it will likely be at the expense of other primary competition, but as the firmly rooted partisanship of U.S. politics dictates ad hominem attacks as the main advertising effort, this trend probably isn't going to slow down.
In the meantime, all we can say is that you don't see too many Cossack hats in the branded merchandise arena, do you?