Democratic Debate
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) (2nd R) gestures while the moderators Chuck Todd of NBC News and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC experience technical difficulties during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

We’re all about dressing up as a means of self-expression, so why not not bring your candidate of choice into your wardrobe? The problem is, most presidential merch is bad. Like, really really bad. It’s as if sartorial aesthetics aren’t a priority for the people vying for the most powerful seat in the world.

That said, we did some digging to find the very best piece of merch from every candidate in tonight’s democratic debate. Just like the debate itself, it’s a crowded field, and some certainly don’t belong. While some candidates have sleeper hits in their offerings, others are woefully off the mark across the board. But because presidential viability is completely irrelevant, some of the most unlikely candidates actually have some of the best pieces. With that in mind, we put together a ranking of all 12 candidates’ merch, from worst to best.

Tulsi Button

Tulsi Button

$5

Tulsi Gabbard

Buy at Tulsi Gabbard

12. Tulsi Gabbard

The U.S. Representative’s merch game is so dull we had to peg a button as the “best” piece. The gradient is beautiful, without a doubt, but when a lil button is the best thing you’ve got going for you, it’s not looking good.

Tom Pattern Tee

Tom Pattern Tee

$20

Tom Steyer

Buy at Tom Steyer

11. Tom Steyer

Admit it, you did not know who Tom Steyer is. And this shirt isn’t going to change that.

Amy Hat

Amy Hat

$30

Amy Klobuchar

Buy at Amy Klobuchar

10. Amy Klobuchar

We’re getting slight Farmland Farm vibes here, but without any of the character. Somehow, the rest of her merch is even duller.

Joe Mug

Joe Mug

$25

Joe Biden

Buy at Joe Biden

9. Joe Biden

Get it, Joe like coffee? It’s semi cute, but you’d expect the Democratic front runner to have more dynamic merch. Then again, excitement isn’t something you’d associate with Biden’s near-foregone campaign.

El Presidente Tee

El Presidente Tee

$25

Julian Castro

Buy at Julian Castro

8. Julián Castro

Gotta give kudos for the trading card idea here, but the execution isn’t quite there.

Beto Hat

Beto Hat

$30

Beto O'Rourke

Buy at Beto O'Rourke

7. Beto O’Rourke

Anyone remember Theophilus London’s “LVRS” hats? With Beto’s efforts to be the ~cool~ candidate, we wouldn’t be surprised if that was his team’s inspiration.

MATH Hat

MATH Hat

$35

Andrew Yang

Buy at Andrew Yang

6. Andrew Yang

In a vacuum, a hat that just says “Math” on it slaps. But Yang’s reinforcement of the model minority myth is more harmful than it is cheeky, so we’ve gotta knock some points off.

Elizabeth Warren Merch
Elizabeth Sanders

5. Elizabeth Warren

This is how you mix the perfect message with the perfect piece of apparel. Put this on while you put the rich on the menu for dinner. Get Here.

"That Little Girl Was Me" Tee

"That Little Girl Was Me" Tee

$30

Kamala Harris

Buy at Kamala Harris

4. Kamala Harris

Simply put, this photo is hard. It could be a little smaller, but it’s hard to nitpick too much when it comes to presidential merch. Slap on a signature and this could easily be a Supreme tee.

Cory Tweet Mug

Cory Tweet Mug

$20

Cory Booker

Buy at Cory Booker

3. Corey Booker

Instead of running from this cringe-worthy tweet, Booker is embracing it and slapping it on a mug. File this under “so bad it’s good.”

Bernie Fanny Pack

Bernie Fanny Pack

$32

Bernie Sanders

Buy at Bernie Sanders

2. Bernie Sanders

Sander’s unkempt hair is iconic, even without a headband. Putting it on a fanny pack is the perfect amount of kitsch and brings back the serious grandpa vibes for the bag that’s now become ubiquitous.

Boot Edge Edge Hat

Boot Edge Edge Hat

$25

Pete Buttigieg

Buy at Pete Buttigieg

1. Pete Buttigieg

Now that’s how you get people to start pronouncing your name correctly. There’s something about this cream, sans-serif font that just looks perfect on the royal hat. Buttigieg probably ain’t gonna win the nomination, but he’s got the merch game on lock.

Words by Ian Servantes
Staff Writer

Dog with a blog.