Our 5 Favorite Parts of This Bonkers 2020 Election Chess Set - Rolling Stone
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Our 5 Favorite Parts of This Bonkers 2020 Election Chess Set

You had us at ‘riding symbolic donkeys and elephants’

2020 Battle for the White House Collector’s Edition Chess Set.2020 Battle for the White House Collector’s Edition Chess Set.

2020 Battle for the White House Collector’s Edition Chess Set.


From the weirdos who brought you the Ped Egg foot filer, the Brass Bullet indestructible pocket hose, and the Egg Sitter support cushion comes another bonkers product: the 2020 Battle for the White House Collector’s Edition Chess Set. It’s “a keepsake you’ll cherish for generations and proudly display in your home,” the commercial promises. And for just $99 (plus $9.99 shipping and handling), you, too, can turn family political squabbles into riveting games of chess with the Presidential Edition of the game. Or, you can choose the Standard or Deluxe versions for $39.99 and $59.98, respectively.

Republicans and Democrats face off against each other in this chess set, with each side’s party leaders represented and the parties’ animal mascots, the elephant and donkey, serving as pawns. The product’s website claims that each chess piece is “handsomely designed” with “incredible detail.” And lest you think they’re lying, right there in the commercial and on the website is a person painstakingly hand-painting a piece.

There are so many oddities to choose from with this product, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top five:

  • While Trump and Pence are the Republican set’s king and queen, the Democratic presidential contenders are represented with empty podiums. “Because the Democratic nominees are not yet known,” the commercial says, “you’ll receive two empty podiums to play now. Once the candidate is selected, you will be notified to acquire the final pieces to complete your set.” But beware, you’ll have to pay an unspecified “separate fee” if you want the pieces representing the actual Democratic nominees.
  • Other party leaders are also represented. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders are the knights, depicted riding their party symbols. Or, as the commercial puts it, “Legislative leaders Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer and McCarthy—knights riding symbolic donkeys and elephants!” Former presidents and vice presidents Obama and Biden, as well as Bush and Cheney, serve as rooks.
  • Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kavanaugh are the bishops, “standing guard to protect the Supreme Court” and moving diagonally to uphold the Constitution.
  • If you want to get really fancy, there’s also a gold-toned upgrade version available. Upgrade your chess pieces to a “classic gold tone, which adds a luxurious touch to the playing board.” Undoubtedly, this is the version Trump himself would buy. But, it’ll set you back an extra $19.99.
  • And, of course, it comes with an “individually-numbered certificate of authenticity!” Because you just know there are going to be counterfeit versions of these popping up everywhere.

According to iSpot.tv, an analytics company that tracks commercial ad buys, Telebrands Corp., the company that makes the chess set, has spent an estimated $153,000 to run these ads between December 23 and today, generating approximately 17.6 million impressions. Since June 2019, the ad has run 292 times.

The commercial goes on to depict smiling families, happily playing chess. A grandparent playing the Republican side high-fives his grandson seated next to him as a college-age young man contemplates the Democrats’ next move. Interestingly, and perhaps reflecting the American electorate, in the commercial it’s always an older white man playing the Republican side against a younger Democratic opponent. We reached out to Telebrands Corp. to ask about sales numbers and will update this story if we hear back.

So if you’re still recovering from family political fights over Christmas, you could always order this chess set to escalate the tension at your next family gathering. You can yell at your grandfather about Medicare for All as your Sotomayor bishop takes his Mike Pence queen!

In This Article: Chess Set


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