Sale of American-made Products Tied to Presidential Candidates’ Platforms
The online store has become a crucial aspect of a presidential campaign—and many candidates use their decision to sell or not sell only American-made products as a means of furthering their messages.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama sold only products that were made in America in their respective stores during their 2012 campaigns, and the 2016 presidential candidates largely look to be following suit.
Under the product descriptions in Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ stores, each item notes whether it is American- or union-made or –printed. Similarly, Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio—who calls his store “A New American Store”—describe each item in their stores as “Made in the USA.” Certain items in Republican Rick Perry’s store are also described as such.
One exception to the American-made trend is Republican Rand Paul, whose store is selling a shirt with a label that reads “Made in Guatemala,” according to CBS News. Some of Paul’s products are acquired by U.S. distributors, but made overseas.
“Our goal is to have 100 percent of our products produced or printed in the United States,” said Steve Grubbs, Paul’s store manager and chief strategist for Iowa, according to The New York Times. “But we believe people should have the option to purchase a wide variety of items, and will continue to provide a variety of products that let people take their brand support with them however they choose.”
Many moving parts go into the decision of selling only American-made products, from whether it strengthens the candidates’ messages to if it affects speed of purchase and delivery.
Given inventory logistics and supply and demand, providing American-made campaign products is not always an easy task. Typically, campaigns will buy product from manufacturers and subcontract third-party companies to handle the fulfillment end of the process, like Obama’s 2008 campaign’s use of Tigereye Design and Perry’s 2016 campaign’s use of primesigns.com, according to The New York Times. To provide American-made products means that there must be enough American manufacturers able to produce the item in a timely fashion so as not to annoy supporters with backlogged purchases.
In the end, it is ultimately up to the individual candidate whether or not he or she wants to solely use American-made products.