Political merchandise is meant to excite voters through clever slogans and slick logos. But that excitement rarely materializes. For every cleanly designed political t-shirt or bumper sticker there are a thousand awful ones adorned with corny, focus-grouped garbage.
Some pieces of campaign merchandise are so bad, however, they pass into a liminal space that transcends mockery. Michael Bloomberg’s merchandise has resided in that space throughout his bid for the presidency. But with his new hat, Bloomberg has surpassed occupying that space. He’s conquered and colonized it.
The Bloomberg campaign dropped this Boomerific headgear after another mediocre debate performance from the billionaire former mayor last night. Within hours, however, the campaign deleted the tweet announcing the hat and marked it “Sold Out” on its online store. The timing is perplexing. Perhaps the campaign expected Bloomberg to land a blow on avowed socialist Bernie Sanders and dropped the hat to build on that moment’s momentum. But with that moment failing to occur, the hat is just a stale reminder of Bloomberg’s core message: progressivism is bad and I have nothing else to offer.
Honestly, Bloomberg would’ve been better off slapping “Bernie Sucks” across the front of a baseball cap, but Bloomberg’s too much of a coward to be that direct.
“That hat is just classic red-baiting,” writer Carl Beijer says. “If Democrats were being smart about this they would reject this kind of rhetoric, because this is the exact same kind of hat Obama critics would’ve worn five years ago.”
Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine Fox News lovers sporting this cap to own the libs. Republicans called Barack Obama, who correctly described himself as less liberal than Richard Nixon, a socialist. They’ll label any Democratic nominee as a radical leftist no matter their politics. But Bloomberg doesn’t care about that. He’s running to wreck Sanders and any other perceived threats to his wealth. Bloomberg wants Democratic voters to sell out their party and “bring in the boss” because that’s what he views himself as—the only candidate with the authority and resources to buy Congressional seats.
"I bough– I got them" — a Freudian slip from Bloomberg pic.twitter.com/tE9ANV711D
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 26, 2020
The hat is stupid on its own. It actually makes MAGA hats seem more clever by comparison—at least they’re red and have a verb on them. Moreover, it’s a message that could easily be co-opted by people who wear MAGA hats. The “bring in the boss” isn’t just anti-worker, it’s woefully out of touch with normal people living normal lives. Most people don’t like their bosses and only bring them in when they have to. (Not to mention that bosses have generally been frowned upon in the context of political parties since the days of Tammany Hall.) Even the mini-American flag tag feels out of place, crammed into the corner of the hat’s strap and spanning far too wide across it. It looks like some staffer pulled up Zazzle and drafted this thing in about ten minutes, which fits the theme of Bloomberg’s entire campaign—quickly created and embossed with witless Republican messaging to perfectly appeal to absolutely no one.