More odd campaign merchandise selections

It’s been a few months since I browsed the presidential candidates’ campaign stores, so I thought it might be time to take another look to see what’s OH MY GOD WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING HERE?


This truly is for sale on Ted Cruz’s website. For $50. For reals.

Looking elsewhere, there’s the Grillary Clinton grilling spatula ($18) and the Chillary Clinton beverage Koozies ($5). Bernie Sanders is making the most of a good viral slogan with a full line of “Feel the Bern” merchandise. Carly Fiorina seems to be the only one with a whole separate section of dog shirts ($22 each).

Jeb's Guaca BowleAnd Jeb Bush is offering a $75 “Guaca Bowle” (a molcajete without the pestle?) in which to make your dip before the next debate. “Jeb’s secret guacamole recipe not included… yet.” Latino voter outreach, indeed!

Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chaffee, and Jim Webb are among those who don’t have stores at all on their campaign websites. (Webb’s site, oddly, seems to have a shopping cart but nothing to put in it.) On one hand, they’re avoiding the crass commercialization of modern U.S. politics; on the other, there ain’t many clamoring to buy their stuff, anyway.


Scott Walker, we hardly knew ye

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suspended his presidential campaign today, and urged other Republicans to do the same so that the electorate can coalesce behind anyone but Donald Trump:

It doesn’t sound like any other Republicans are immediately ready to follow him out the door.

But some Democrats were ready with double-barreled snark.


Bernie Sanders’ website most effective, firm says

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is running the most digitally effective campaign, followed closely by Republican Ben Carson and Democrat Hillary Clinton, a Silicon Valley web optimization company argues.

Sanders, who at 74 is the oldest of the major parties’ prominent candidates, nevertheless is the tech-savviest when you factor in the number of analytics tools in use on the campaign’s website; the number of social media tools embedded on the campaign’s website; Twitter effectiveness (measured as number of followers divided by number of tweets as of Sept. 4); website load speed; website security, determined by SSL certification; and use of content delivery networks, according to Palo Alto-based Instart Logic.

Rated least savvy by these standards were Republican Jim Gilmore, Republican Mark Everson, Democrat Lincoln Chafee and Republican Lindsey Graham. Republican Carly Fiorina, the only candidate with a Silicon Valley background, ranked 11th.


The GOP candidates’ Secret Service code names

In case you missed it, one of the (intentionally) funniest moments at last night’s Republican presidential debate came when the candidates were asked what they would pick as their Secret Service code names if elected president.

Jeb Bush pretty clearly won this one by responding “Eveready – it’s very high energy, Donald” to counter Donald Trump’s prior criticisms that Bush has been sluggish on the campaign trail. But Trump got some points for his ever-so-slightly introspective, one-word answer: “Humble.”

Here’s what the rest of them chose, somewhere along the spectrum from woodenness to sly humor:

  • Chris Christie – “True Heart”
  • John Kasich – “Unit One”
  • Carly Fiorina – “Secretariat”
  • Scott Walker – “Harley”
  • Ben Carson – “One Nation”
  • Ted Cruz – “Cohiba”
  • Marco Rubio – “Gator”
  • Mike Huckabee – “Duck Hunter”
  • Rand Paul – “Justice Never Sleeps”
  • But here are MY picks for them:

  • Jeb Bush – “Threepeat”
  • Donald Trump – “Apprentice”
  • Chris Christie – “Traffic Jam”
  • John Kasich – “Longshot”
  • Carly Fiorina – “Pink Slip”
  • Scott Walker – “Stumbler”
  • Ben Carson – “Sleepy Doc”
  • Ted Cruz – “Cruise Ship”
  • Marco Rubio – “Gulper”
  • Mike Huckabee – “Preacher”
  • Rand Paul – “Wiretap”
  • Make your own suggestions in the comments (but as always, keep it clean).


    Bay Area man to direct Ted Cruz’s Calif. campaign

    A Bay Area political consultant has been tapped as California state director for Republican Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.

    Jason Scalese2Jason Scalese, 40, of Burlingame, joins Ron Nehring, the former state GOP chairman from El Cajon who was named Cruz’s California chairman in May.

    “I’m thrilled to be serving with the Cruz campaign,” Scalese said in Cruz’s news release. “I believe that the Senator is a once in a generation leader who will protect religious liberty, defend our country and our constitution, and make us proud to call him our President. With the largest delegation headed to Cleveland for the RNC in 2016, we will be working hard to make sure California is Cruz Country!”

    Scalese is managing partner of GOP consulting firm Fusion Strategies, and has managed operations, grassroots and finance for local, statewide and federal campaigns. He previously served in similar roles for Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Fred Thompson.

    “With Jason’s knowledge of California politics and grassroots organizing, he’ll be an important addition to our effort in the Golden State,” Cruz said in his release, citing the appointment as “more evidence that we are putting together an incredibly competitive campaign and will be successful. I would stack our operation up against anyone else in the race.”


    Fiorina leverages Trump’s insult into web video

    Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is turning rival Donald Trump‘s insult into a talking point.

    According to a Rolling Stone profile published last week, Trump gestured to an image of Fiorina on television and said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president.”

    “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” Trump said, according to the magazine.

    Trump later claimed he was insulting Fiorina’s persona, not her looks. But the feud already had taken root, with some pundits opining that the former Hewlett-Packard CEO is likely to go for Trump’s jugular at this Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

    She’s not waiting for the debate, though. She launched a video Monday featuring footage of her at this past weekend’s National Federation of Republican Women convention in Scottsdale, Ariz. – at which she won the straw poll.