The following were the Top Ten sellers in our shop of political buttons, lawn signs, shirts and bumper stickers during the month of May 2012:
1. Sluts Vote bumper sticker
2. Elizabeth Warren for Senate lawn sign
3. No GOP anti-Republican bumper sticker
4. Dogs against Romney bumper sticker
5. I’ve Got His Back Obama bumper sticker
6. 99% oval bumper sticker
7. Elizabeth Warren: US Senate bumper sticker
8. 2012 Obama Icon oval bumper sticker
9. Annoy a Republican: think for yourself bumper sticker
10. We Are the 99 Percent bumper sticker
Buying a bumper sticker is an expression of commitment, which makes this top 10 list a meaningful signifier. Compared to four years ago, presidential election gear is not especially popular. Although the presidential election is less than five months away, pro-Obama gear (much of it left over from our brief period of excitement after Obama’s election) represents only 2 out of our top 10 best sellers. About as many people were excited enough about Elizabeth Warren’s U.S. Senate run to buy a sticker as were thrilled by Obama’s re-election campaign. To balance that out, it should be said that none of our liberal anti-Obama messages make the top 10 list, and only one anti-Romney sticker is placed in our top 10 either.
It’s not just the experience of our shop, which we admit we haven’t stocked to the gills with re-election gear. You can find indications elsewhere that 2012 is no 2008 in terms of excitement and commitment on the left. You can hear it in the air around Barack Obama rallies, where the sound of silence is more likely to filter through. You can see it on bumpers of cars, which are surprisingly empty for this time of year, and on the backpacks of college students as they walk around campus, filled with books but emptied of earnest campaign buttons. And yes, you can see it in bumper sticker sales. For many reasons, we’re just not all that into President Obama any more.