Trump Yard Signs, Safe Places and Misdemeanors
How polarizing is Republican presidential primary candidate Donald Trump? Well, students at Emory University in Atlanta felt threatened and unsafe when they woke up one morning and happened across “Trump 2016” written in chalk throughout the campus. About 50 of them protested and aired their grievances to the college president, saying the school wasn’t listening to them and they were in pain.
If that’s the reaction when something is written in chalk, a temporary expression of allegiance if there ever was one, imagine the wrath that befalls a supporter when they pluck down an official Trump yard sign. These signs, and those of other candidates, are dotting neighborhood landscapes and they’re nothing out of the ordinary. However, the visceral reaction to them is. In year’s past you’d drive down the street thinking, “That guy’s for Bush,” or “This guy over here likes Obama.” Well, during this volatile primary season, a Trump yard sign is leading to crime.
Stories of stolen and vandalized Trump yard signs are spreading from coast to coast. A man in Dalton, VA, had a gun pointed in his face after he confronted three men who destroyed his Trump sign. The men were eventually arrested. A senior citizen in Gainesville, VA, was threatened, had her sign stolen and her house spray painted with “can you see the new world through the tear gas.” In addition to theft, signs have been set on fire and spray painted with swastikas and profanity. Some would-be vigilantes have recorded themselves destroying signs; others have taken to plowing them over with their vehicles or egging homes with the signs on the front lawn. In College Park, FL, Trump supporters with signs on their property had the street in front of their homes spray-painted red with offensive remarks.
Dave Ross, an L.A. comedian though, took a different approach. In January he printed a sign that read “IDK, Not Trump Tho 2016” as a goof, plopped it in front of his house and tweeted a picture of it. As more people saw it – 8,000 retweets and 10,000 likes – more people wanted it. So, he created a website and sold 500 signs, T-shirts and bumper stickers; enough for rent for five months. Not only that, Philadelphia-based apparel retailer Urban Outfitters has inked a licensing deal with Ross. And Ross has taken to sending cease-and-desist letters to people using his slogan without his authorization.
The power of promotional products, indeed.