Hot New Trend: Political Product Endorsements

Tory Burch Obama merchandise

As a part of their nearly billion dollar campaign enterprise, Obama for America raked in $40 million for lending the President’s oneness to designer clothing and accessories.

Anna Wintour is officially a political-fundraising groundbreaker.

The Vogue editor’s “Runway to win” initiative — which had famous designers like Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs creating bags, shirts and other gear for the Obama campaign — brought in a lot more dough than some predicted.

Campaign manager Jim Messina tells Bloomberg Businessweek that the venture, which had been mocked by some pundits, raised “just north of $40 million.”

Let’s be clear about what this is. It’s a product endorsement, and eliminates any lingering doubts that American politics haven’t morphed into a political version of American Idol. Except, instead of voters picking who gets a recording contract, we’re picking who will administer national policy.

Obama’s not a leader. He’s a celebrity with a political agenda.

Unfortunately, this is an area where Republicans are going to have to engage. “We’ve all but ceded the entertainment industry to the left, and while many conservatives’ first instinct is to groan and scoff at high-profile celebrities’ political endorsements (this conservative included), the fact is that there are a lot of people (especially young people) who pay attention to that kind of thing,” writes Erika Johnsen at Hot Air.

That’s the same point I made noting Obama’s “soft media” strategy. Conservatives mocked him for spending more time chatting with Jay Leno and the editors of People than traditional political journalists, but it worked. Because, let’s face it, more people listen to what Jay Leno says than what any political pundit or journalist says.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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