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Are Hipsters Accidentally Giving Their Money to Conservatives?

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Urban Outfitters is a well known hipster clothing haven whose store interiors are designed to look rustic and urban, almost like an abandoned factory (a douche factory to be specific). Many of their most popular items are politically themed clothes. In 2008 their Barack Obama t-shirts were a huge hit with their largely liberal customer base. This year in honor of the coming election Urban Outfitters has put out a new round of “political” t-shirts of the ironic GOP variety.

Why would a bunch of liberals want to buy shirts featuring politicians they oppose? Because they’re funny, duh! Hipsters love irony. Which is good, because otherwise they’d probably be really pissed that all the money they are spending on the ironic t-shirts, as well as everything else at Urban Outfitters, is going straight into the hands of a pretty conservative business owner. A business owner who in turn donates that money to real live GOP candidates. That man is Robert Hayne, and he’s sort of a fan of Rick Santorum. IRONY! Here’s a breakdown of Hayne’s political contributions from PolitiFact Florida:

Hayne has not contributed to Santorum’s presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tabulates campaign contributions.

But Hayne and his wife Margaret have contributed to Santorum and his political action committee in the past.

From 1994-2005 the Haynes contributed $13,900 to Santorum or a PAC he started, Fight-PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Margaret Hayne donated $2,400 to Santorum directly and $5,000 to his political committee. Her donations came in 1997 and 1998.
Richard Hayne gave $3,500 to Santorum and $3,000 to Fight-PAC. Hayne’s first donation was in October 1994; his last contribution was recorded in May 2005.

The donations ended when Santorum lost his Senate seat in 2006 to Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

The Haynes, over time, also have contributed to former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican political committee and more recently to Joseph Torsella, a Democrat who briefly ran for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, and Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania.

Two things are obviously worth noting: 1) Hayne didn’t donate to Santorum’s presidential campaign, and 2) He and his wife have also donated money to a Democrat.

Hayne won’t often speak publicly of his political beliefs, especially on the social hot button issues that Santorum is infamous for, but Hayne did have this to say in a 2007 interview to address his support of Rick Santorum:

“I don’t like paying taxes — is that a sin?” he asks.

“I like small government,” Hayne said, explaining a libertarian streak.

Fair enough, nobody likes taxes, not even hipsters, not even ironically. There has been controversy surrounding some of Hayne’s actions in the past, things that could hint at his other political beliefs. One of those controversies was the quick retraction of a pro-same sex marriage shirt after California’s Prop 8 passed. However Urban Outfitters later teamed up with a LGQT group to release a different pro-same sex marriage shirt in 2009. It could have been an honest attempt at reconciliation (for what I’m not sure), it could have been simple half-hearted appeasement, or it could have been (and likely is) because those shirts sold well. He is after all a “libertarian” who made a fortune off of Obama t-shirts.

No matter what his social politics are it is pretty clear that Robert Hayne would support a conservative candidate he potentially disagreed with on those issues but agreed with on economic policies. Would he do it again? Who knows. Maybe he got too much shit for being a Santorum supporter the last time around so he decided that making campaign contributions wasn’t worth it. My guess is that Hayne is still sending money to someone or something conservative, but I’m not sure what. There hasn’t been anything on the books recently, so that’s complete speculation on my part. In the end I’m no Rick Santorum fan, but I am a fan of hipsters having their annoying lifestyle come back to bite them in the ass.

[h/t to reader Hot Gam]

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