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Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) is well into his run for the Democratic nomination for 2020, the social media wars that characterized his run in 2016 have reignited.
Without getting into the original Bernie vs. Hillary saga of 2016, or the new fights that are emerging as the Democratic primary candidates co-opt his platform, Sanders’ entry into the race will have one effect for sure on the social discourse: memes.
Hillary Clinton might have won more delegates, but to his supporters, Bernie Sanders had both the best policies and the best memes.
Bernie memes were a ubiquitous part of social media for nearly two years, spawning so many images that they were even collected in a Facebook group called, naturally, “Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash.” And they’ve returned for 2020, of course.
Bernie Sanders Memes
Even if you thought Bernie’s ideas were unworkable, you had to admire the meme-ing skills of his fans, who had an innate understanding of the power that social media has to amplify and spread images.
There was the meme comparing Hillary to Bernie, one that had so many versions it inspired its own Meme Generator Link:
Then were the memes inspired by a small bird landing on the lectern as Sanders was giving a campaign speech.
Even animals love Bernie!
You do realize more mundane, natural explanations might exist for the bird's abnormal behavior? But please call us once you've mastered this "cheap parlor trick" to steer birds away from pooping on cars--you could make a fortune! pic.twitter.com/A0GujXCoPc— HootHootBerns🐦🌺 (@HootHootBerns) February 20, 2019
The 2016 election spawned more Bernie Sanders memes than could ever be viewed by one person.
How is the meme effort going so far in 2020? Judging by these early examples, not too shabby.
It began with his campaign announcement, which shattered fundraising numbers.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!— LeftieLette 🌹 (@MiSsSPaRkLeZz) February 19, 2019
I REPEAT NOT. A. DRILL.
BERNIE IS RUNNING!
If you feel the Bern and wanna help support #Bernie2020 please make a donation today if you're able. Even 3$ 💖#NotMeUs #HindsightIs2020 #Sanders2020 #StillSanders #BernieOrBust😎https://t.co/Y2ksvdF7P5 pic.twitter.com/52W0zmhb8B
And the fact that his announcement would strike fear into the hearts of the rest of the crowded field.
And it’s still going strong with the Iowa Caucus less than six months away.
#BernieFam💕 Don’t let the H8% get to you. I got an idea! Let’s respond to #EstabliHate in a way that’s PRODUCTIVE. Share informative graphics & positive memes & photos.— One of Bernie’s Million Donors (@noreallyhowcome) August 21, 2019
If you have any on hand please share them here so we are all armed #NotMeUs pic.twitter.com/CdmiLljQHo
With Biden sinking, CNN will be one long unpaid Warren commercial from now on.— Pat the Berner🌹 (@PatTheBerner) August 26, 2019
Too much is at stake to settle. Bernie has the most:
Only Bernie beats Trump easily.#NoMiddleGround#Bernie2020 ✌️❤️🤬 pic.twitter.com/ZvDlNUituz
Since Bernie didn’t win the 2016 primary, there was no opportunity for the second wave of memes, pitting him against Trump.
But now, many Sanders supporters are skipping the inconvenient fact that the Democratic primary is still six months away and anointing him the winner. And that means
Bernie vs. Trump memes:
A better world IS possible & after @BernieSanders takes to the Oval Office in 2020, that world will become a reality! I hope this poster gives you as much hope as it gave me making it. Celebrate the Peoples #PresidentsDay the right way!#Bernie2020 #RunBernieRun#BernieSanders pic.twitter.com/4fktXiAeOw— Bryan Lawrence🧔🏻 (@BreatheNewWinds) February 18, 2019
I just got back from Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash and pic.twitter.com/KVZPH2Gt9Q— kenneth🌻paul (@CainnechPol) February 21, 2019
Even the Bernie Bird hates Trump.
#IsupportBernieBecause ITS BEEN #BernieSanders DAMN PLATFORM FOR DECADES AND ILL BE DAMNED IF SOME FAKE "PROGRESSIVES" CENTRISTS try to steal its supporters by faking its support just to kill it !! #BERNIE2020 pic.twitter.com/eUGCCMhK6r— 🏳️🌈Heath Walker🏳️🌈 (@Heath_C_Walker) February 21, 2019
So is Trump worried about Bernie?
So far, he’s been fairly quiet about Democratic primary candidates, dredging up old racist jokes about Elizabeth Warren, but being weirdly complementary toward Kamala Harris, mocking Beto O’Rourke as a young man with “little going for himself,” and focusing a great deal of ire toward Joe Biden.
What did Trump have to say about his former potential general election foe? Crazy Bernie was back!
Crazy Bernie has just entered the race. I wish him well!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
Naturally, the memes followed:
Crazy Bernie will come after your money! Socialism Sanders...— Best President Ever! (@realTrumpForce) February 19, 2019
Let this sink in folks!
Google Venezuela... pic.twitter.com/jZ5G9Oo3NJ
Nobody knows what will happen in the next year.
Except that there will be dank memes.
Mike Rothschild is a writer who specializes in researching and debunking conspiracy theories and fringe beliefs. He also writes about politics, history, and breaking news.