DES MOINES, Iowa—There’s a lot of talk here about how seriously Iowans take their caucuses. But that doesn’t include everyone. Hence the T-shirts that say, “Iowa: Our Caucus Is Bigger, Better, And Comes Before New Hampshire.”
This and other caucus-themed T-shirts are cropping up in Iowa this season, mostly from a local clothing store called Smash. “It’s like Urban Outfitters, but half the price,” says Mike Draper, the guy behind Smash and its online counterpart, TheSmashSite.com .
Draper says the caucus shirt idea came up in a bar a year ago. A friend thought it would be funny to have a T-shirt that said “Rock Out With Your Caucus Out.” Draper wrote him a $100 check on the spot.
Since then, they’ve sold $35,000 worth of caucus material. MTV hired them to design their “Rock the Caucus” shirts, and they’ve also created designs for Clinton, Obama, and Richardson supporters. In Clinton’s case, a few staffers said they wanted “Hill’s Angels” T-shirts, so Draper made a mockup with skulls and wings, a la Hell’s Angels. Apparently that wasn’t what Hillary’s people had in mind. “They wanted more like Charlie’s Angels,” Draper said, so they redid it (above).
One Richardson supporter sent in a design for a shirt saying, “Bill Richardson: Most electable, Not a polarizer.” Not the zingiest slogan in the world. “We asked if they wanted us to redesign it for them,” Draper said, “but they were like ‘No, this looks good,’ and we’re like, ‘All right brother.’ ”