When a candidate decides to run for president, they are essentially opening their lives up to the public. Every move that a candidate makes is examined under a microscope for better or worse. How a candidate carries out their campaign, is crucial to not only how the public perceives them, but it is crucial to the success of the campaign. Often times over the course of a presidential campaign, a candidate will do something memorable. Sometimes this can be a laughable situation, and other times these events can be downright embarrassing. Whatever the memorable event, if it is funny enough or embarrassing enough, the public will not forget it. When the public begins to discuss different happenings around a presidential campaign, the events begin to become a part of popular culture. There are numerous aspect of presidential campaigns that end up intersecting with popular culture. Whether it be an appearance on a late-night television show, or a linguistic gaffe, presidential candidates and their campaigns feed into popular culture, and they also absorb the attention that is paid to popular culture whether the moment was a positive one or not.
While popular culture shifts throughout the years, there are aspects of presidential campaigns that have not changed. One of these aspects that hasn’t changed, is the pinback campaign buttons. These buttons have been a part of nearly every Presidential election, and they themselves are a part of popular culture. Thanks to a generous donation of campaign buttons from 1976-2016 made by Bernard L. Karr to the Browne Pop Culture Library, this material culture will be used to supplement an exhibit that discusses the intersection of presidential campaigns and popular culture between 1976 and 2016.