Sales for “Moscow Mitch” merchandise have soared past $200,000 in about 48 hours on the market, according to the Kentucky Democratic Party.
The merchandise, sold by the Democratic Party of Kentucky, was launched on Wednesday and includes a T-shirt, koozie, hat, drinkware, stickers and buttons, all of which are mostly decked out in red and emblazoned with the phrase “Just say nyet! to Moscow Mitch!” (“Nyet” is Russian for “no.”)
The merchandise centers around a pejorative that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has publicly and harshly condemned.
“People are sick of (McConnell’s policies), and this is their way of expressing their outrage,” Kentucky Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa McNee said in a press release. “This campaign has really caught the imagination of voters in Kentucky and across the country.”
Affinity for McConnell’s latest moniker is not reserved for the Commonwealth. According to the state Democrats, “Moscow Mitch” merchandise orders have been placed from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. People from about 64 Kentucky counties also have ordered, according to the release.
Nicole Erwin, communications director for the Kentucky Democratic Party, said the T-shirt was the most popular of the merchandise so far. More than 5,500 unique merchandise orders have been placed in the first two days of the collection’s availability.
“Moscow Mitch” gained quick traction in national and local news after a Washington Post columnist decried McConnell as a Russian asset. The criticism came soon after McConnell blocked a bill introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, that would have allowed for paper ballots and authorized federal grants for replacement of existing voting systems in attempts to strengthen election security.
The bill was intended to address cyberattacks that occurred during the 2016 election. But McConnell referred to the motion as theatrical, prompting MSNBC Morning Joe host and Former Florida Republican congressman Joe Scarborough to scathingly refer to him as “Moscow Mitch.”
The slight did not go unaddressed.
McConnell dubbed the nickname essentially treasonous and suggested his Democratic and Republican critics were practicing “modern-day McCarthyism.”
The Democratic Party of Kentucky launched the “Moscow Mitch” merchandise line to capitalize on McConnell’s ire. According to Erwin, the merchandise will remain available for the foreseeable future, as steady sales continue to stream in.
“As long as people are interested in this, we’ll continue,” Erwin said.