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Image via Slate

Bernie Sanders Thinks This T-shirt Went Too Far

April 25, 2016 | Hannah Abrams

The 2016 election season is already underway and the democratic and republican candidates are trying whatever they can to set themselves ahead. While political rallies and town hall meetings are tried and true techniques, it’s the political merchandise that can give a candidate an edge to the voting public.

However, that also means that negative promotional products can tarnish the reputation of a candidate. While most might take the high road, sometimes candidates opt to lawyer up to do some damage control.

Such is the case for a T-shirt targeting the Bernie Sanders campaign. According to The Washington Post, a lawyer for Sanders’ campaign is demanding a vendor, Liberty Maniacs, cease selling all products that feature the phrase, “Bernie is my comrade.” The T-shirt features Sanders’ profile in a row of Socialist figures including Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.

The Sanders campaign demanded that Liberty Maniacs stop selling the ‘Bernie is My Comrade’ T-shirt. (Image via Liberty Maniacs)

The ‘Bernie is My Comrade’ T-shirt. (Image via Liberty Maniacs)

Although calling for the items to be removed seems like a violation of the first amendment, Sanders’ campaign lawyer is claiming the design is an infringement on its trademark and copyright citing Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act.

However, Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer defending Liberty Maniacs, says the contention is “absurd” and that the company will not remove or discontinue selling the products.

The battle over imprinted merchandise is certainly a slippery slope. On the one hand, who wants negative propaganda being associated with a political campaign? Of course you want it removed. However, by taking legal action to remove promotional products, it can imply a candidate has no problem wasting time on trivial matters.

What do you think about this T-shirt scandal?

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