Street Art, Pop Culture, and the Rise of Ted Cruz

 

Sabo-Ted-Cruz

Conservatives like to talk big about taking back the culture, but generally they suck at selling freedom. Having ruled pop culture for years, liberals tell their story by infusing everything from movies to visual art and music with their propaganda. Then, this happened:

Created in 2012 by the Republican street artist, Sabo, the “Ted Cruz with Tattoos” poster became culturally iconic for its frank and sexy message, and the fact that the liberal media tripped all over itself to promote it before they figured out that conservatives actually loved the image.

Shortly after, a secret confederacy of right-of-center marketing professionals in Los Angeles began producing their own political art. At first, the posters and paint jobs were confined to LA, but independent activists in other states began to use the posters locally, and one of the latest designs features Ted Cruz’s name with the Mockingjay style symbol made famous by the Hunger Games series.

The posters have made headlines from LA to Boulder, and most recently, Michigan State University students plastered 60 all over campus on the same day Mockingjay opened in theaters, inviting a direct comparison between the fictional Panem capitol and Washington D.C.:

FF49A7D1-0B08-4B3A-8D0B-55B5333723FEA1689B09-5761-41DC-9C65-F667CA8397D3 IMG_6283-2

87005B2C-6CAA-4F65-BF96-DF5608EF1A20422CFCD4-9CBF-49F1-9E45-3F4BD3DD2E84 B06F745E-5D48-476E-A3BA-3241A8B84549852BC95E-5E31-4637-BE6E-C84F2B698195

So what’s going on here? An unabashed admirer of Cruz, Sabo creates many works to celebrate his favorite candidate, regardless of whether they will sell or not, and the “Mockingjay movement” operates outside of the structure of the Cruz political campaign. In other words, Cruz seems to be leading by example and inspiring something new to conservatism; rebellious fans and campaign volunteers are stepping outside the traditional norms, self-funding creative communications, telling their story and (with Cruz surging in Iowa) selling freedom very well indeed.

There are 40 comments.

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  1. Member

    We have very little practice being the counter-culture, it’s nice to see some talented people being the vanguard.

    • #1
    • November 24, 2015 at 5:35 pm
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  2. Inactive

    6foot2inhighheels: but generally they suck at selling freedom.

    I think, generally, people suck at being Free, so They don’t want it.

    • #2
    • November 24, 2015 at 6:09 pm
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  3. Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    Jimmy Carter:

    6foot2inhighheels: but generally they suck at selling freedom.

    I think, generally, people suck at being Free, so They don’t want it.

    Come on, Jimmy! You’re just hanging out with the wrong crowd.

    • #3
    • November 24, 2015 at 6:18 pm
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  4. Thatcher

    Down with President Snowbama!

    • #4
    • November 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm
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  5. Inactive

    6foot2inhighheels: Come on, Jimmy! You’re just hanging out with the wrong crowd.

    Ricochet or TEXAS?

    • #5
    • November 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm
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  6. Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    Jimmy Carter:

    6foot2inhighheels: Come on, Jimmy! You’re just hanging out with the wrong crowd.

    Ricochet or TEXAS?

    Jimmy Carter: I think, generally, people suck at being Free, so They don’t want it.

    If you’re in a place where people suck at being Free, you need to get out!

    • #6
    • November 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm
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  7. Member

    If it’s posters and paintings, and not graffiti, I’m all for it. Graffiti is vandalism.

    • #7
    • November 24, 2015 at 7:12 pm
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  8. Inactive

    But when are we going to start seeing more of these around town?

    jim_gilmore_for_president_2016_3_inch_round_button-r966f17f07059409792a9f06d150aa0a9_x7j1f_8byvr_500

    • #8
    • November 24, 2015 at 7:22 pm
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  9. Reagan

    Loved the tattooed cruz. Loved that it came from LA. Somewhere Andrew Breitbart is smiling.

    • #9
    • November 24, 2015 at 7:41 pm
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  10. Inactive

    TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    • #10
    • November 24, 2015 at 8:11 pm
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  11. Inactive

    A much needed cool injection to a stolid but worthy man. He has guts and does not need to be liked. We need a lot more of that.

    • #11
    • November 24, 2015 at 8:43 pm
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  12. Inactive

    BrentB67: BrentB67 TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Normally I would agree, but what is up with that mayor down there who is afraid of white guys like me?

    • #12
    • November 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm
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  13. Member

    lesserson:We have very little practice being the counter-culture, . . .

    Which is ironic because we’ve been counter-culture for decades.

    (I’ve always thought it funny that the people who proudly see themselves as counter-culture are quite mainstream in thought.)

    • #13
    • November 24, 2015 at 9:12 pm
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  14. Contributor

    BrentB67:TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Well…

    http://freedominthe50states.org/

    • #14
    • November 24, 2015 at 10:51 pm
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  15. Inactive

    Fred Cole:

    BrentB67:TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Well…

    http://freedominthe50states.org/

    Meh, if their biggest knock in the “personal freedom” category is that they don’t allow a bunch of stoners to roam free, then I will agree with Brent on this one.

    • #15
    • November 25, 2015 at 1:40 am
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  16. Inactive

    TKC1101:

    BrentB67: BrentB67 TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Normally I would agree, but what is up with that mayor down there who is afraid of white guys like me?

    TKC, that’s Dallas. Dallas is the NYC to Austin’s San Fran. You can’t really get a good measure of TEXAS from Dallas. Trust me, I’m from there. Now I would rather be in Dallas than in Austin–the Leftists in Dallas are more apt to showering–but Dallas ain’t Fort Worth that’s for sure.

    • #16
    • November 25, 2015 at 1:42 am
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  17. Member

    I bought a Cruz t-shirt (and one featuring Che Guevara – not flattering, I hasten to add) from the Unsavoury Agents store. The Cruz shirt is great, but I realize I don’t really have anywhere I want to wear the Che one…

    • #17
    • November 25, 2015 at 1:51 am
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  18. Member

    DrewInWisconsin:

    lesserson:We have very little practice being the counter-culture, . . .

    Which is ironic because we’ve been counter-culture for decades.

    (I’ve always thought it funny that the people who proudly see themselves as counter-culture are quite mainstream in thought.)

    Exactly.

    • #18
    • November 25, 2015 at 8:10 am
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  19. Member

    Ted of Cruzland?

    • #19
    • November 25, 2015 at 2:58 pm
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  20. Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:Ted of Cruzland?

    The Cruzer ..

    • #20
    • November 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm
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  21. Thatcher

    Robert McReynolds:

    Fred Cole:

    BrentB67:TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Well…

    http://freedominthe50states.org/

    Meh, if their biggest knock in the “personal freedom” category is that they don’t allow a bunch of stoners to roam free, then I will agree with Brent on this one.

    Freedom for the libertarians begins and ends with the right to do drugs, man!

    • #21
    • November 25, 2015 at 3:36 pm
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  22. Inactive

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Robert McReynolds:

    Fred Cole:

    BrentB67:TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Well…

    http://freedominthe50states.org/

    Meh, if their biggest knock in the “personal freedom” category is that they don’t allow a bunch of stoners to roam free, then I will agree with Brent on this one.

    Freedom for the libertarians begins and ends with the right to do drugs, man!

    Only for the junior high school libertarians .. for adults, it’s a Milton Firiedman thing, free to choose how to live ones life without interference from those who consider themselves superior and want to impose their choices on others.

    • #22
    • November 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm
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  23. Member

    Don’t forget to give The People’s Cube their share of the conservative graphic design kudos:

    ThePeoplesCubeManual

    http://www.thepeoplescube.com

    • #23
    • November 25, 2015 at 4:13 pm
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  24. Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    Misthiocracy:Don’t forget to give The People’s Cube their share of the conservative graphic design kudos:

    ThePeoplesCubeManual

    http://www.thepeoplescube.com

    People’s Cube is funny, but I just showed the graphic to another conservative, who said, no, I don’t even want to read it….looks too busy. The genius of LA street artists is that they distill a concept down to an image that you can glance at, and then think about. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, “When you have a paragraph, and they have a bumper sticker, you lose, every time. Conservative activists are in the business of persuasion, and young people on a college campus are a tough crowd. What street art does is connect with them on their terms

    • #24
    • November 25, 2015 at 4:44 pm
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  25. Thatcher

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Robert McReynolds:

    Fred Cole:

    BrentB67:TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Well…

    http://freedominthe50states.org/

    Meh, if their biggest knock in the “personal freedom” category is that they don’t allow a bunch of stoners to roam free, then I will agree with Brent on this one.

    Freedom for the libertarians begins and ends with the right to do drugs, man!

    If you look at the web site in the link, you will see that they look at freedom in a ton of different areas. Drug laws are a small portion of their overall picture. In comparing the states they measure fiscal responsibility, public debt, right to work, taxation, health insurance regulations, motorcycle helmet laws, eminent domain, homeschooling regulations, and many, many other things.

    Don’t believe the propaganda, Bryan. There are plenty of people like myself who lean pretty strongly libertarian and have never even sampled illegal drugs.

    • #25
    • November 25, 2015 at 5:18 pm
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  26. Member

    I love that poster of my Senator. I think he should adopt the look with the cigarette – that will drive the nanny-state progs absolutely nuts.

    • #26
    • November 25, 2015 at 5:31 pm
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  27. Contributor

    Great stuff M!
    Love it when young Conservatives make some noise.

    • #27
    • November 25, 2015 at 6:03 pm
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  28. Member
    Melissa Praemonitus Post author

    David Sussman:Great stuff M! Love it when young Conservatives make some noise.

    Me too! These kids are not pajama boys

    • #28
    • November 25, 2015 at 7:24 pm
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  29. Member

    It’s been a long time since I watched even a part of a nominating convention, so things may have changed, but it used to be that the Democrats, despite their stifling conformity and thought control, would wave a variety of creative signs, many of them hand-made. Republicans, on the other hand, had pretty much all the same machine-made signs in red, white, and blue, which I presume had been manufactured upon the orders of the politburo and issued for the benefit of the cameras. I suppose it was more orderly, but it didn’t make me want to identify with those people.

    • #29
    • November 25, 2015 at 7:37 pm
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  30. Inactive

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Robert McReynolds:

    Fred Cole:

    BrentB67:TEXANS don’t suck at being free. Everyone else? Not so sure.

    Well…

    http://freedominthe50states.org/

    Meh, if their biggest knock in the “personal freedom” category is that they don’t allow a bunch of stoners to roam free, then I will agree with Brent on this one.

    Freedom for the libertarians begins and ends with the right to do drugs, man!

    Bryan, you continue to confuse libertarian and libertine and to promote authoritarian principles as conservative.

    Libertarian and conservative principles overlap to a large extent while authoritarian and Leftist are practically synonyms.

    • #30
    • November 26, 2015 at 4:42 am
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