Campaign Season is Here. Are the 2020 Candidates Keeping it Made in America?

By Luke Frazier
Mar 29 2019 |
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We’re checking out the official campaign stores.

The 2020 presidential election season is in full swing, with a majority of the likely major Democratic candidates officially in the running. We know President Trump is campaigning for re-election, too.

As in past campaign cycles, we expect plenty of the candidates to don a hard hat or two and visit with folks at factories across the country. So once again, we are doing a little digging to make sure the candidates aren’t just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

Our first bit of research: Is the official campaign merchandise of the various presidential candidates made in the United States?

From Andrew Yang to Kamala Harris, almost all of the Democratic presidential candidates in the race claim to be sourcing their merchandise from manufacturers here in the United States. Better yet, not only is their merchandise made here in America, but many of it is also produced by union members.

While the overwhelming majority of Democratic candidates feature clearly labeled union-printed, Made in USA products, there is one that does not.

There is some pretty creative campaign gear out there, too. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign site features a unique set of Made in America animal accessories for her four-legged supporters, including Bailey’s Consumer Watchdog Collar (named after her own dog) and the PURR-SIST Cat Collar.

Other candidates have Made in America gear that pays homage to their background or campaign theme. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a one-time brewery owner, is selling American-made foam can koozies on his website, while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign is offering a union-printed, Made in USA baby onesie, perhaps in homage to the New Yorker’s work on paid parental leave.

Meanwhile, frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) is selling an union-made mug emblazoned with his trademark phrase “Feel the Bern.” South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg technically isn’t even running yet — he’s only formed an exploratory committee — but he’s still offering cleverly worded T-shirts that are labeled as union-printed and Made in the USA on his website.

While the overwhelming majority of Democratic candidates feature clearly labeled union-printed, Made in USA products, there is one that does not. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign features an array of campaign gear from yard signs to T-shirts, but nowhere is it indicated that these products are made in the United States.

While it may be the case that Gabbard’s merchandise is sourced here in the United States, we hope she clears things up and labels her campaign gear on her website. And if Gabbard is importing her products, then we hope she follows the lead of the rest of the field and begins sourcing her stuff locally.

O.K., so what about President Trump?

While there were questions in 2016 as to whether his “Make America Great Again” red hats were American-made, Trump’s 2020 campaign caps and other gear are labeled as “Proudly Made in USA” on his official campaign website. Business Insider also visited the California factory where the hats are manufactured in September 2018.

Hopefully the remaining candidates looking to get into the race follow the lead of the majority of the current crop of candidates and source their merchandise here in the United States. And we’ll keep an eye on things as the campaign gets going to make sure things stay this way.