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residential merchandise, promotional items, and swag have recently become a staple in any serious candidate’s champaign. However, how did this bizarre consumerist phenomenon begin? The first election to utilize merchandise is still up for debate. It is certain that gold coins were the first item used in the 19th century. This draws a curious parallel to photography’s involvement in elections. Lincoln(pictured left) was the first candidate to really utilize photography in his election. At this point, photography still existed a precious objects, much like the golden coin merchandise used at the time. As photography has progressed its moved from the few and precious to the virtually infinite and often frivolous. Media whirlwinds like Buzzfeed and reddit have surely proven this in the most recent 2012 election. Merchandise has followed the same path. It began to move from coin to buttons to t-shirt. Now both candidates and voters now will attach a name to virtually any object they can find. The following pages serve as a sample archive of memorabilia of modern day elections, the absurdities and odd items that fade into memory almost as quick as they come into reality much like the photographs of the same time period.

1860 Lincoln Election Photograph

1860 Lincoln Election Coin

1996 C lin t on v s D ol e

1996 Election Poster Dole Election Button

1996 Election Button

2 0 0 0 Bus h v s Go r e

Post Election Sticker Gore 2000 Button

Bush Russian Propaganda Tote

2000 Republican Dog T-Shirt

2004 B ush v s Ke r r y

W. Bush Champaign Sticker Bush and Kerry Golf Tees

Bush Country Stick

2 0 0 8 Oba m a v s McCa i n

Obama Lip Chap

Facebook for Obama Button

McCain Clock Sarah Palin School Girl Action Figure

2012 O bam a v s R om ney

Obama iPhone 4 Case Romney “Flip Flops” Post Election Sticker

Obama Birth Certificate Sticker

Gay Support Obama Baby Clothes

Romney Chia Pet

60% off sale the day after election

7/11 Election cups I <3 Bo Sweater

US Presidential Merchandise  

Documenting the Election Final Fall 2012