This weekend, the Connecticut Secretary of State ruled that voters who are wearing WWE shirts or caps must either remove them or cover them up before entering the polling place. The ruling is based upon the premise that since Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate, was the CEO of WWE, anyone dressed in the organization’s apparel is, in effect, campaigning for her. A video by her husband, Vince McMahon, contending this position is at the end of this piece.
Susan Bysiewicz, the official who made the ruling and a Democrat, defended her decision based upon the following analogy: She claimed that when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor of California, potential voters were not permitted to wear any clothes that bore his image or that of characters he had played in films. It seems to me that there is a big difference between the two cases and that there is a much cleaner analogy.
Arnold’s image or that of one of his characters clearly shows his representation, and could possibly, I guess, be interpreted as support for him as an individual. I don’t believe that WWE merchandise usually has Linda McMahon’s image on it. I’m not a fan of the genre (I stopped caring about professional wrestling when Bruno Sammartino retired), but I didn’t know that she had anything to do with the ‘sport’ until this year. A more likely case could be made that when Mark Dayton runs for public office in Minnesota were voters forbidden to bring Target bags with them into the polling place? I doubt it.
Anyway, Vince McMahon (who I DID know was involved with the WWE) has put out a video defending the right of WWE fans to wear clothing supporting the organization, shown below.