By Michelle Powers
From the epicenter of the so-called middle of nowhere, hosting the caucus means big business for both Des Moines and Mike Draper, the owner of a t-shirt shop that’s attracting all the potential leaders of the free world.
“It’s nice to get the attention,” says Draper.
Political merch is everywhere and on everything in his story Raygun, and compared to a regular January, sales are through the roof.
Raygun is seeing a 30-40 percent spike in business, thanks to shirts inspired by the likes of Bernie, Pete, and Elizabeth – and those who have bit the dust.
Local city offices estimate that the 2020 caucus will generate nearly 11.3 million for the city in just this week, leaving many wondering if its fair Iowa has this first in the nation privileged process.
“Don’t take the caucus away, it’s all we have,” Draper says.
Like many other Iowan businessowners, the caucus has been Draper’s bread and butter.
After college this UPenn grad began selling t-shirts on the streets of New York, until he got a brighter and warmer idea.
So he headed back to the flyover state, except for that once every four years, when it’s the biggest pit stop for all things political.
“It’s nice to talk to people who come in about politics,” said employee Katie Minnehan.
That is, if you agree with them. But Draper says Raygun isn’t really about agreeing, as much as it is about having a good laugh.
If the votes were based on sales, right now he says Elizabeth would be taking home the win. But just weeks ago, Kamala was leading the way.
“I guess you can’t base everything on t-shirts,” Draper says.