“You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you…”
— Donald Trump
In early 2019, The Atlantic put together a list of the 50 most unthinkable moments of the Trump presidency. Of course, in Trump time–(Internet time)nth (n–> ∞)–that was the Age of the Dinosaurs ago. It also was far from comprehensive on its own terms, something the authors implicitly acknowledged when they invited readers to contribute to the list. And it didn’t include many of the moments that were merely unbelievably darkly comic, such as Trump’s visit to the ancestral home of George Washington, Mount Vernon.
On that occasion, his aides and guides were facing the usual challenge–how to hold his attention from second to second. One of them had the brilliant idea of talking to him about Washington’s wealth, much of it earned in real estate. In today’s dollars, he was the wealthiest prez in history, and by net worth he almost certainly still is, particularly given Trump’s proven history of dishonesty on the subject, with Forbes and others, not to mention his unwillingness to share documentation that would prove otherwise). Trump was unimpressed. Why, he asked, had Washington not thought of naming Mt Vernon after himself? “You’ve got to put your name on stuff to be remembered,” he observed sagely.
No one apparently had the heart or courage to tell 44.46 that Washington’s name is on the capital of our country, one of our states, thirty counties, 247 municipalities, 11 universities, 5 forts, hundreds of geological features, parks, schools, neighborhoods, and countless businesses and products (and with the exception of one of the universities, none of them have failed or gone bankrupt, at least they hadn’t when Gutless Don entered and took over the Oval). Someone could also have pulled him aside and let him know, sotto voce, that the ultimate “genius” strategy for getting naming rights is to accomplish so much for your country and its people that decision-makers everywhere will want to put your name on things to honor and associate themselves with you–you won’t even have to ask, suggest, or propose it! Let alone impose or demand it. The self-proclaimed master of the art of the deal, who demands a new twist to the nation’s “storyline” daily, is apparently stuck pre-1776 in marketing technique: the OGeorgeW was actually the first president to “go v**al.”
But it’s true that there’s always a branding shortcut if you want to go fast more than far–just slap your name on whatever you can, whether you had anything to do with it or not (if you’re a celebrity, sometimes they’ll even pay you to let them do it). In a moment of precognition, we decided some months ago, long before the coronavirus broke our country, that we would help Mr. Trump in his quest to have his name on everything by creating a series of stickers that you, our loyal community–and your friends, and your friends’ friends’ friends, could affix on the objects and locations most deserving of the Trump brand, based on who he is and what he’s done for the nation.
After all, we thought, there’s at least one strong historical precedent for this–in 1931-32, the depth of the Great Depression, much of America was branded in the name of another businessman-politician, albeit one who otherwise resembled Trump only in his genius for self-promotion. Many towns, especially the shanty ones that sprang up everywhere as millions were evicted from their homes, were named Hoovervilles. If your pockets were turned inside out, symbolizing that you couldn’t find even a penny of change in them, they were known as “Hoover flags” (and still are). The newspapers the newly dispossessed used to keep warm were called “Hoover blankets.” The cardboard folks used when they got holes in the soles of their shoes: “Hoover leather.” Horse-drawn carriages (or cars), which experienced a revival because nobody could afford gas: “Hoover wagons.” Fairness requires us at this point, though, to ask you to imagine Donald Trump organizing the logistics to save 400 million Europeans from starvation after WWI.
It’s widely believed, with some evidence, that Trump only ran for president to raise the visibility and prominence of his brand. So how can we work together to insure he gets what he wanted, that the Trump brand accurately reflects all the “record highs,” “record lows,” and “biggest” things he’s really produced for our country in his four years of White House occupancy? As we’ve indicated, the answer, we believe, is both obvious and humble: stickers, which could also not only really help win the election, but the aftermath too. How? Read (or skip ) on.
Below you’ll find what we’ve got to share so far. You, dear reader, do not have to buy them–we didn’t create them to make money, but to get them distributed as widely and used as frequently as possible (which is always why we’re also making them more broadly available on a major marketplace site, not just on CP). If you want to support us in our work (please) or just don’t want to hassle of rolling your own, you can buy single sheets there (usually containing 4-6 stickers) for $3.95-$6.95
But we’ve also included sheets of each that you can print out on a laser (not inkjet) printer if you have one (you can order sticker paper–both white and clear–online). Or you can take them to FedEx/Kinko’s, UPS, Staples, Vistaprint, Walgreen’s, Office Depot, CVS, and/or Office Max (among others) and let them print and cut them for you (be sure to call in advance to make sure your fine franchisee offers this service–one of these organizations surely will, because it’s a lucrative business service).
Because our nation is so sadly divided, and some of these stickers could definitely beserk some of the more cordycepified of Trump’s supporters, including, as we now know, beyond a doubt, many local law enforcement officers who are supposed to be serving and protecting you, “please use responsibly,” where you’re sure you’re within your rights and can safely do so. By downloading any of them, you acknowledge this responsibility as yours alone and agree to hold us harmless for any consequences experienced as a result of their use. And btw, if you’re a Trump lawyer/goon reading this, we have a special message for you. Go ahead, click on it; we’ll wait. You’re Al Pacino, by the way.
As this mix of legalese and extra-legalese suggests, stickers are potentially a lot more powerful than anonymous Internet memes. They show a commitment on multiple levels, indicative of a seriousness and strength of conviction that can strengthen the resolve of others and demoralize opponents. Democrats now believe that one of the critical mistakes they made in 2016 was allowing Trump to dominate the low-tech real estate of yard signs in swing states, leaving potential Democratic voters feeling isolated and discouraged–contrary to underdog mythology, Americans love to back winners. Dems are determined not to commit that malpractice again, especially in a pandemic environment that’s eliminated many other ways for voters to show support, but the Trump campaign, true to its modern GOP heritage of spending far more time and creativity finding new ways to cheat than on policy innovation, has been conducting a massive nightly campaign to pull up Biden signs, which we expect will continue long after the counting’s done. Needless to say, for existential as well as moral reasons, the Biden campaign won’t be venturing onto Trump supporter properties to do likewise.
And that’s where our stickers come in, taking the form of an out-of-the-glue calvary they can’t gameplan for. Stickers are more aggressive, more in-your-face than yard signs. They aren’t limited to yards, they can be placed in any number of locations (even on signs promoting sign-stealers) where they can’t just be tuned out as background blur as potential voters make their way through their quotidian routines, they’re a lot harder to steal (or rather, peel), especially if they proliferate en masse, which we’re giving you the power to make happen. For the cost of one yard sign, you can print and distribute–or have printed and cut for you–dozens of these not-so-little beauties.
Herbert Hoover would probably have lost the election of 1932 with or without the organic proto-branding campaign that common folk like us launched against him, but it probably increased the margin of his defeat, impacting down-ballot races as well. This election looks to be closer, against a candidate who will likely have to be electorally crushed to concede defeat without civil conflict; we need to throw down every gauntlet we have, even if it’s the kitchen sink, to avoid this, not just before November 3rd, but beyond, as an ongoing show of force on behalf of the true, legitimate winners of the election, to keep up our collective courage and spirits until he’s forced to leave (and take his enablers with him).
Even then, he and his most ardent supporters should be considered undead and dangerous. Make no mistake–every day for the next four years (starting with the transition), he will be doing everything in his power to sabotage and discredit the new administration, rewriting history along the way by telling the same lies over and over. There will be many times when persuadable voters, who may need to be pressed into service for far more than that, will need to be reminded of the bad old days, and that we, the people, the majority of Americans have not forgotten, will not forget, and will have their backs. As totalitarianism expert Timothy Snyder has emphasized, elections are only “round one” when it comes to stopping creeping authoritarianism. From here it’s a war of wills, and in such battles, little things on the ground–like signs and stickers matter–a lot.
Not to be any more melodramatic than the moment calls for, but may our thin army of vinyl below be one that thunders over the horizon all across the nation in the fog and chaos of coming weeks, months–even years, let us know if you have any issues with any of these small but mighty messengers we should know about/correct, and please send us ideas for more; if we use them, we’ll send you a free Creative Politics t-shirt and share any manna we get from making them available to the general public. If you’re already fired up, ready to slap up, you can collect’em all: download a package with a complete set of sheets here.
Dumpsters. This is too easy, and just to make sure the point is properly made (you might surprised by how much this individual and his supporters read/see criticism as praise), we’ve included a little flame within most versions.
If you don’t have a dumpster you have the right to brand, ask around–you’ll be surprised at how many people do not support 44.46, and surprised at who they are, too, which will be reinforcing all around. Or try asking permission of anyone who works in one of the state or local governments he and Mitch McConnell are starving by playing politics with COVID relief monies. What are trumpkins going to do about it anyway? They can’t do much to a dumpster other than set it on fire, thus proving our point. (Dimensions: 11″ x 2.19″)
Click the pictures to buy onesies, or click here to get sheets (white, clear) to roll your own. Those available for purchase have a dumpster embedded in them (along with the fire), just in case Trumpkins who stumble upon them in the marketplace think they can use them for pro-Trump purposes.
Smoke & Air Now these should make Ol’ Citrine happy. They’re a branding revival of his long-bankrupt airline, the Trump Shuttle, in new evolutionary forms, smaller and more diverse, allowing him to claim ownership or credit for any device that blows hot air or smoke. They’re especially well-suited for use on hand dryers in public restrooms because they feature a prominent body part of the maestro that looks right at home in close proximity to a row of toilets. (Dimensions: 3.66″ x 1.44″)
TrumpCare. Promises made, promises kept. One of the biggest of his campaign commitments was to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the most “beautiful” “phenomenal” “terrific” “fantastic” “no cost” health care plan imaginable. Heading into the election, many Americans appear to be having difficulty finding the fruits of that initiative, so these stickers are provided as a public service, to be placed anywhere you think will help voters identify and locate the salient features, for their pre-election evaluation, of TrumpCare–an empty lot, a boarded-up building, an overflowing trash bin–use your imagination; despite all the pandemic has done to illuminate it, creative power will certainly be required to find such a deal hiding in plain sight, even though it’s been in place since his “first week in office.” (Dimensions: 2.75″ x 4.07″)
Click the pictures below to buy a set of 4-20, or click here to get a sheet to roll your own…
Arrested Development. Grievance is most definitely core, core, core to the Trump brand. Seriously, have you ever heard anyone whine as much as the Snowflake-In-Chief–not just in public life today, but in your own life, or at any point in the history of humankind? It’s easy for his followers to complain–most had very little when he was inaugurated and have even less now; what’s truly impressive is the continuous eruptions of meefing the Donald has been able to maintain at all hours of the day and night, despite being a self-made billionaire almost since birth–if you didn’t know better, you might think he’s up over his combover in debt to the Russians, the Chinese (yes, the Chinese), Latin American drug lords, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and the like. And yet to date, there’s no campaign, no visual, no symbol that captures and reflects this powerful chainsaw capacity in service to his brand. Together we can change that. (Dimensions: 5.44″ x 5.44″)
Click the pic to buy a set of four, click here to get sheets–if you print them as clear (as opposed to cutting them out of white adhesive sheets), we recommend not putting them on the back window of your car–they tend to be too see-through there. Single sheets available for purchase are significantly smaller than those you can print out yourself or have printed for you (only 3″ x 3″ each vs. 5.4″ x 5.4″)
Trump University. In the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, two institutions bearing the imprimatur of institutions of higher learning were exposed as the frauds they are. One was Trump University. The other was the Electoral College. This 17th century appendix that the founders, who believed strongly in representative democracy, gave as a sop to slave states, never expecting it would be used, had selected presidents against the will of the people three times before–in every case awarding the highest office to Republicans over Democrats–but never when the vote so favored the “losing” candidate. Both of these “heads I win, tails you lose” Trumpian scams should have been yoked together and disappeared under a hail of lawsuits thereafter, but the shambolic zombie college lives on, threatening to wreak even more havoc on our fundamental norms.
We think these little stickers look especially fetching on college textbooks and notebooks, which seems like divine coincidence, because we see no reason to respect any such result again–why should the Constitution, which Trump has literally violated every day he’s been in office, and more than six ways to Sunday, have the force of law only when it benefits him? That’s a young person’s question, and we will need the strength and passion of those who share Kris Kristofferson’s definition of freedom to get the answer right. (Dimensions: 3.5″ x 3.5″)
Click the pics to buy a set of 4-20, click here to get sheets (clear only)
Blame Signed. We suspect that when Donald Trump insisted that, against all precedent and objective reason, his name be affixed to every American’s stimulus check, he did not realize that by, in effect, making a representation that his cardiograph added value to those checks, he made his signature federal work product, and therefore placed it in the public domain. Or we’re sure we can only find a few hundred thousand lawyers willing to make that case. Donald Trump’s entire life has been about taking credit for everything, blame for nothing–there’s no need to source that–everyone knows only the heat of the sun prevents him from putting his name on the source of all life too. As we see it, thanks to one of his most egregious credit-claiming actions, we now have a rare opportunity to properly align his “signature product” brand with what he actually has and hasn’t done. Given his extensive history of involvement with organized crime, it’s no surprise that his J Hancock looks a lot like a gang tag, and this should help guide you to the kinds of places it belongs. We can already think of more than 100,000 locations where it would really help define the scope of his work on behalf of the nation. (Dimensions: 3″ x 2″)
No onesies for this one–we don’t want to put it in a marketplace for pumpkinheads to affix to hundreds of thousands of good things in America that he’s had absolutely nothing to do with–we’ve had enough of that in the last four years to last us until at least 2076. But if you click the pics, you can get still get access to printable sheets whose colors represent the full range of what comes out of his mouth.
Killjoy. Since he claims to be the patron saint of the forgotten man and loyal champion of the military, despite much evidence to the contrary, we’ve created a “Trump was here” version of Kilroy, the everyman soldier’s go-to graffiti tag, suitable for display next to closed businesses, overflowing hospitals, natural disasters, and virtually everything else he’s touched in the last four years. None of his supporters are going to want to try twisting and turning this one into a deplorable badge of honor (thanks, BillR, for this terrific idea!)
We’ve got a version for light surfaces and one for dark surfaces, but otherwise, same old, same old–click the pics to buy a set of four, click here to get sheets of them to print.
Restless. Of the nearly 200,000 Americans and counting who have died of COVID (and really, the number is much higher than that, despite every ongoing effort he’s made to undercount them), how many are truly resting in peace, knowing the lies he tells about them every day? We think this may be the most rhetorical question we’ve asked in a long, long time. No question: these stickers are brutal, and all have been created using official fonts and colors designated for memorials of this type. They’re also the ones we ourselves are most likely to cross lines in putting up. Here’s why:
The United States has the best doctors, the best nurses, the best medical facilities in the world, the best preparations against pandemics, as proven multiple times by the previous two administrations, and the most resources in general, by far. And yet despite having only 4% of the world’s population, we have more than 20% of the world’s COVID cases and deaths. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. A diverse basket of countries, all closer to ground zero than we were. Collectively, they have the same population as we do; collectively they have 2,500 coronavirus deaths. The sheer number of “mistakes” he’s made in word, commission, and omission–which began shortly after he took office–in both the first and second waves, and continuing to proliferate today, are nearly unfathomable. In fact, we’ve come up with nearly twenty reasons to believe he botched the response on purpose, each with more credibility and support than any conspiracy theory the alt-right has ever cooked up, if not all of them combined.
Still, we might not have created these stickers but for the insult he’s added to the memory of those 200,000 dead–nearly one hundred times the number we lost on 9/11/01. No mention of them in four days of the RNC, except obliquely by Melania, the pandemic itself repeatedly treated as if it were already over–how many times has he ever uttered the death toll or spoken of it except to proclaim upper limits we’ve since surpassed? We’ve even heard his supporters, including the head of his task force, blame the dead themselves, in many cases clearly parroting talking points being distributed sub rosa on social media. For four years, many of these victims have been told to believe him, and only him, so they did what he repeatedly told and modeled for them–no need for masks, he said, no need for social distancing; in fact, those practices are all for liberals, not real Americans. They listened, they died, and caveat emptor, it’s their fault? Really? And now he’s taken to erasing them completely–last week he retweeted a conspiracy theory that only 9,000 of the 200,000 had actually perished. Is anything worth committing such coprageous calumny?
So… where to put these “very tough” but not “very unfair” brand extensions? There are 25,000 active cemeteries in the US, meaning an average of eight COVID victims he wants us to fuggedabout in each, QED placement en route to any of them–but at a very respectful distance–seems appropriate; they’re really the only places where Trump has got branding coming to him the old-fashioned Washingtonian way–he’s earned it. If you know someone who has died, you could put one on the bumper of your car as well and, as Alex Jones has learned the hard way, woe betide any Trump supporter who self-righteously berates you for it, especially in front of others–we are all Newtown now. Truth is, at least some of us would be happy if anywhere and everywhere any remaining Trump supporter turned on Election Day, they’d see one. How dare their “leaders” treat 200,000 of our fellow citizens as disposable, even non-existent, after obsessing for years on four who died a world away? (Dimensions: 11″ x 4″)
Click the pics for singles, click here for sheets.
Projections. Donald Trump loves playground games. His favorite is “I know you are, but what am I,” what the more scientific among us call “projection.” This little sticker collection is one where we project some of his verbal greatest hits right back at him, including “I alone can fix it,” “I didn’t want people to panic,” “It is what it is,” “You’ll get so sick of winning,” “I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue,” and “Stand down and stand by.” If you look closely at “it is what it is,” you can see nearly the entire horror show of the last four years all over his face, where it belongs, with even more trailing in his wake. (Dimensions: Various)
Click the pics to get sets of 4-20, click here to get sheets (clear for the circles, white for the rest)
Branding. Before brands were a thing in business, they were something you seared flesh with, and in honor of the Trumpian desire to turn back the clock, way back, this is a collection designed to do the same to him, starting with a celebration of the best nickname we’ve found for the man who loves to dish them out: Gutless Don. He likes to represent himself, above all, as a tough guy–it’s the only thing, other than lawlessness and disorder, he has left going for him–but he’s absolutely the opposite in every way. Real men don’t criticize others for what they’re too afraid to do themselves (how many times did it take him to mumble a disavowal of David Duke? And when is his Sister Souljah moment when he tells his supporters to back off, as Biden has done repeatedly?)
Real men stand up to dictators, they don’t kowtow to them. Real men don’t alternate between bragging and whining–in fact they do neither, nor do they talk incessantly about themselves rather than listening. Real men don’t abuse women, punch down at others with less power, make fun of the disabled, or fire people by tweet. Real men take responsibility, own up to their mistakes, apologize and make amends; they also give credit where credit is due, and never take it for themselves unless it’s fully earned. For real men, their word is their bond–they don’t break contracts or promises or lie, let alone by default. Fake men like to degrade women by calling them p*ssies; we’ve never known a woman who fits what that slur is supposed to mean, but Donald Trump does–in fact, he’s the world’s biggest, a real record-breaker.
With the exception of those below, we think this collection is too hot for the general public to handle. You can buy these happy few (in sets of 4-20) with a click of the pics below, or grab the whole bag of glowing irons. Or again, go even more for the gusto and download our whole kit and caboodle, top to bottom, malarkey extra.
Next up—your contributions to the cause.
Creative Politics is the world’s first community-based political incubator, synthesizing the best of liberal and conservative ideals with technology and history to generate inspiring ideas, projects, contests, campaigns, and more, bringing back the joy of politics that once was, and could be again.