Meme Culture in the 2016 Election Cycle
Start writing a post

I'm currently in my senior seminar, which is the senior capstone for my Politics major, in which we discuss problems in United States politics and possible solutions. In the past weeks we've had the opportunity to apply much of what we are learning to highly contemporary contexts, especially the current presidential primary season.

One statistic that has stuck out to me is that President Obama's approval ratings have been increasing as the primary season has chugged along, in part because the current front runners on each side, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are massively disliked figures, especially by the opposite party. This has given people the chance to revaluate their position on Obama, who had relatively low approval ratings for most of his presidency, with these polarizing comparisons available. With this in mind, I started to think about the way presidential elections have changed in the era of the internet, especially in regards to the ways young people interact with their political systems.

I did interview a couple months back with Kevin Le, the CEO of "ImagineBernie" a social media based campaign supporting Bernie Sanders. Their goal is to use social media as a way to convert millennial online supporters into voters through providing relevant voting information, debate schedules, and most importantly, images that show Bernie supporters with quotes regarding his policies (or Bernie himself), as well as memes. Such as this take on the Ryan Gosling "Hey Girl" meme:

Internet memes have completely changed the media landscape around politics; some young people don't want to watch the news but can see a meme regarding a candidate that makes them look at the issues in a visual culture and dialogue they are accustomed to. It can help make candidates relatable or show their flaws, allowing young people to partake in their own brand of conversations around political happenings.

Overall, if you look at the memes surrounding the candidates on both sides (up until last week, with Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination, leaving Trump the nominee) they actually reflect quite accurately what poll data finds. For example, most memes about Trump, Cruz, and Clinton are negative and critical of their shortcomings.

Most of the Trump memes concern themselves with his appearance:


But some also address his failed rhetoric or outright crazy statements on the campaign trail:

(Captioned with: "Donald Trump is every student ever who didn't read the book and is trying to wing it when the teacher asks what they think it was about.")

Or just diss him, like this early 2000's throwback:

As I am sure many of you know, the internet took it upon themselves to decide that Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, leading to a number of memes to assert this "truth":

But he, too, has content created that questions his policies:

Clinton faces a similar struggle with the internet's handling of her many "scandals." Another story that I'm sure most of you have heard is in regards to the sexism often found in Bernie vs. Hillary memes that labels Clinton as out of touch with popular culture, and really...everything. I'm a huge fan of this particular format, despite the way it has been used inappropriately at times because it allows citizens the ability to question her privilege and the way that affect her policies; one of my favorite examples is the one below, referencing Sanders' friendship with Run the Jewels rapper Killer Mike:

Overall, though, Hillary is either portrayed, as aforementioned, as out of touch and trying very hard to seem "cool":

Or wildly corrupt:

Although I've chosen to not include the more sexist versions of many of the Clinton memes, it is important to note that memes and their surrounding culture are often crafted by young, white men who can code, program, etc., giving many of them an obvious bias, and showing that sexism is ever-alive and well on the internet. And this segues easily to my next point: Bernie Sanders is about the only candidate to come out on top in the meme world, and this is, in part, due to the "Bernie Bro" demographic of young, white male supporters. Interesting how that works!

There are memes that address his passion regarding his policy opinions:

And the even better iteration of the above:

Or they reflect his opinion on other candidates:


Some discuss the viability of his candidacy:

And others just make him seem even cooler than all of the above, jumping him into pop culture dialogues he's likely not even aware of, like the popularity and style of rapper Drake:

Finally, though, to round the conversation back to Obama, the memes I will miss the most at the end of this election are those of him, as well as those of him and Vice President Joe Biden, that have been subject to a similar "coolness injection" as Sanders. Obama-Biden memes often depict him as hip and collected, with Biden as a sort of goofy grandpa role that is more endearing that Clinton's brand of cultural irrelevance (do I smell more sexism, perhaps?):

Even more so, though, I will miss the memes of their "bromance":



So here's to the brilliant era of memes we live in. Let us fondly remember those of the soon-to-be past administration while we usher in the new. May our future presidential memes after this next election be just as kind, although if Trump or Clinton are our next president, meme bros seem to have already told us which way ensuing memes will swing.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.

176273

When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Wikimedia

To celebrate the five year anniversary of his debut album "TRAPSOUL" Tiller has released two new albums and these are my favorites from the release. The deluxe album includes songs that didn't make the cut from the debut album and the "Anniversary" album has brand new songs.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.

403019

Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

Halloween is every costume-lover's favorite holiday. Growing up in Canada, I remember wearing turtlenecks and sweats under my princess costumes. The opportunity for it to be socially acceptable to dress up as anybody but yourself for just one night a year is one most of us love taking advantage of.

I was doing "couples" costumes with my girlfriends before I ever had a boyfriend. There was a year in high school in which my best friend and I dressed up as two of the Golden Girls and one year in which we went to Halloween parties dressed up as Iago and Jafar.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.

139579

The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less

Gary Chapman wrote a book called, "The Five Love Languages: The Secrets to Love That Lasts" and in it, he discusses what he coined as the five languages of love, which are the most common ways that people express and experience love. These five love languages include words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. If you aren't sure what your or your partner's love language is, you can take this quiz to find out.

Now, finding out what your partner's love language is step one to better understanding how to love them, but step two is figuring out how to best implement their love language into your relationship. That can be hard, so to help couples out, I put together a list of 10 different things you can do for your partner that is specific to their love language.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tips

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.

245341

For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

I Asked Over 50 Students What The Best Part Of Their Morning Routine Is, And The Answers Are In

I asked over 50 high school and college students what their favorite part of their morning routine is, here's the verdict.

2294

Although there was a wide variety of answers, I was able to place everyone into eight different categories. All but about six answers were said more than once!

Keep Reading... Show less

Our world is so full of such sadness, and sometimes we just need something to bond us to one another. What better way than science puns? They're not just for the intellectuals among us (though they might get a bit more of a laugh out of some of these than us more ignorant folks) they're also for those of us who want a good laugh or maybe to impress a particularly science-y crush. Some of these puns might even teach us.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix/Fox

Halloween is just days away and though spooky season feels like it's lasted a lot longer than a few weeks of 2020, it's time to add some scares you've actually signed up for to the mix. Personally, I love a good fright as long as I'm prepared.

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney Channel

One of the favorite things we love about fall is Halloween. Since we can't do our usual traditions and activities this year, we can still do a Halloween marathon of our favorite movies safely at home.

And where else can you get some nostalgia during Halloween than Disney Channel Original Movies? Here are nine Disney Channel Original Movies to watch during this spooky season.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

I Asked Young Adults Their Favorite Parts of Their Morning Rituals, And At-Home Workouts Are Having A Moment

Our lives have changed a lot in the past year, and along with everything else, so have our morning routines.

1464

While we were socialized to be a part of the group that stumbles out of bed into the shower, getting ready for work (or class), grabbing a granola bar for class, and stopping for Dunkin on the way in, being locked at home has changed our perspective on how mornings could be.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Surprise surprise, bebes! If you're on a dating app and looking for something to draw the attention of prospective lovers, it's time to add in some of your favorite TV show references and let the matches roll in, especially if you're obsessed with "Schitt's Creek" and/or "The Office."

Because after the dating app Ship rolled out its Top Shows profile feature, they discovered that people with certain television shows mentioned in their bios actually had increased chances of getting matches. Data from the app showed that these are the top 10 shows to increase your chances of finding love:

Keep Reading... Show less

- Like a lot of fellow skincare junkies, clean beauty has been a passion of mine for years — more and more of us are embracing natural ways of taking care of our bodies.

- A few months ago, I was introduced to Symbiome: a newly launched brand with supercharged ingredients from the Amazon that showed faster results in healing acne and pigmentation on my skin than anything I've tried.

- Each minimalist product from the brand has ten or fewer ingredients, all naturally and sustainable sourced. Most have less than four.

Being Indian, clean beauty has always been a core part of my beauty rituals passed down from my mother and grandmother. From massaging warm coconut oil into our scalps to sweeping DIY turmeric saffron masks on our faces, most South Asian households were doing the clean beauty thing before the Western world labeled it as such.

For that reason, when I first heard about Symbiome: a clean skincare brand featuring supercharged ingredients sourced from the Amazon, I was immediately intrigued. The brand features four postbiomic oils, a restorative cream, and two cleansers.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments