Democratic vice-preidential nominee Kamala Harris‘ footwear has the internet going nuts. In fact, it’s been like that for the last week after she wore a pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers during a visit to Wisconsin.
But on Tuesday, her kicks also got an outsized reaction when she rocked a pair of Timberland boots — affectionately known simply as “Timbs” — during separate visits to her home state of California to survey damage from the wildfires and Nevada to discuss how the coronavirus has affected Latinos.
And with corporate donations in the news — remember what happened when we found out Goya has been a major supporter of Donald Trump? — it got us here at NewsOne wondering: What is Timberland’s history of political donations?
Before we go there, though, let’s rewind to last week when Harris arrived in Wisconsin. In a now-viral video, Harris’ chief of staff Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted footage of the California senator getting off a jet while wearing a pair of Converse’s signature old school canvas and rubber sneakers. The tweet went on to make “Chuck Taylor” a top trending term on Twitter.
Fast forward one week and Harris was back at it, this time rocking a pair of construction Timbs, a term Jean-Pierre — also a senior adviser for Joe Biden‘s campaign — used when she tweeted a GIF of the vice-presidential nominee strutting off a jet and into her awaiting caravan.
The footage also promptly made “Timbs” a top trending term on Twitter Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
Throughout it all, it’s tough to ignore how the company has profited off of a Black culture that helped increase its popularity — and revenue — exponentially “Seemingly overnight,” as the New York Times put it in a company profile published in 1993. Nearly three decades later, Timbs remain one of the top go-to footwear choices for Black folks of all ages, thus influencing popular culture at large to follow suit.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that Timberland boots and the other shoes it manufactures are notoriously reliable and made of top quality and durable leather.
The combination of all of the above has made Timberland a multi-billion-dollar company.
Since the company has so much pull socially — and financially — after seeing Harris wearing a pair of its boots, it’s only natural to wonder how much sway Timberland holds politically.
That’s why it may be a surprise to see how much money the Timberland company has donated to Republicans in recent years. (Converse is owned by Nike, which has a history of donating evenly to both major political parties.)
According to Open Secrets, a website devoted to all-things campaign finance, Timberland donated a total of $122,477 during the 2016 election cycle. Democrats were given $39,925 while Republicans received $61,952. As you may recall, a Republican won that election.
Four years earlier, during President Barack Obama‘s campaign for re-election, Timberland donated $198,549 in all. Only back then, Democrats were given just $53,549 compared to the $145,000 donated to Republicans. It’s important to note that the Democratic presidential nominee emerged victorious in that election.
Conversely, during Obama’s historic first run for president in 2008, Timberland donated to Democrats nearly four times as much as it did to Republicans ($43,550 to $11,200).
(Donations to a political party are not necessarily exclusively spent on presidential campaigns and could be used to help the so-called “downballot” candidates running for city, state and national offices. Open Secret’s data does not indicate how donations were spent. See Timberland’s history of political donations dating back to 1992 by clicking here.)
It was unclear how much, if any, Timberland has given in political donations for the 2020 election cycle. But what is clear is that the vice-presidential nominee has the company trending on Twitter for all the right reasons, leaving her, the company and Democrats all mutually benefitting from the positive exposure on social media.
That could leave Timberland owing a debt of gratitude — or, possibly, donations — to Democrats during one of the most consequential elections in modern history.