*For this exploration it was my mission to create a dank meme database, in which to analyze the rhetoric of Hillary hating Bernie supports*
Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye for an extensive amount of time, serving her country in a variety of political positions- First Lady, Secretary of state, New York senator, activist, and practicing attorney. During these different segments of her career she was highly scrutinized for intense scandals, including some that were not of her own volition! Scrutiny has risen around her husband’s infidelity, the mysterious deaths of political figures surrounding the Clintons, Travelgate scandal, Benghazi scandal, email deleting scandal- closely related to Benghazi scandal, election rigging, and much more. These incidences, in addition to her policy flopping over her career, have made people weary of Hillary, even if her opponent has had flops, or similar scandals. She seems to be more harshly penalized and more closely scrutinized than her current opponent, even if her rhetoric has been well devised and executed during the recent campaign season.
To look at the scrutiny surrounding Hillary is important because of the way it effects her present campaign and the possible future results of her campaign. We can even go further and say that it is important to look at these aspects from the point of views of her 2016 opponent’s supporters, or even the supporters of those Hillary ran against for the 2016 primary in her own party- Bernie Sanders. Bernie supporters, like historical done, should have swung over to support Hillary since she obtained the Democratic nomination; however, that has not been the case! Many Bernie supporters were not willing to support a candidate who they believe rigged the primary, or have a past such as Clinton’s. Since Bernie supporters have taken such action since the nomination, they have started their own campaigns to get Bernie into the White House, start the flames of revolution, and even play the sour loser and not support fellow democrats. These new supporter campaigns have lead to the creation of memes- many negative towards Hillary. How do Bernie supporters use meme creation to make Hillary even less relatable, less trustworthy, and unfit?
Meme creation within the last eight years has become extremely popular with similar existence as political cartoons, which have been a long standing newspaper tradition. Political cartoons were meant in inadvertently display support and scrutiny towards those figures under the spotlight, like political cartoons, memes display support or scrutiny as well. Memes show this visually on the internet, and can also be used to respond to other memes posted. On Facebook, though not exclusive to Facebook, there are ‘meme stashes’; places where people upload memes they find, make or go to comment on memes. Some stashes are general and others are specific, like the “Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash” or the “Donald Trump’s Dank Meme Stash.” These are places where these creations of scrutiny live, exist. Since the nomination of Hillary for the democratic Nominee, the “Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash,” of Facebook, has become to contain more Hillary content than Bernie. So far not one positive Hillary meme has been found within the stash!
The negative tone of these Hillary memes, living within the Bernie stash, have shown the discontent that Bernie supporters- many turned Stein bots- harbor towards Hillary. These memes are negative towards Hillary, so it can be guessed Bernie supporters do not like, or want, Hillary to be the nominee, and they feel like Bernie is better than her. Many of the memes are not gendered- meaning that Bernie groupies do not believe that Hillary is unfit because she is a woman, but that she is unfit because of the specific scrutiny that they showcase. These groupies are trying to use Clinton scandals, including Bill caused scandal, and scrutiny to discredit Hillary’s ethos. These scandals and the public scrutiny of Hillary can be broken down into categories- corruption, untrustworthy, infidelity, flip-flop, conspiracy, inability, and doubt. Form the Bernie Meme Stash of Facebook, I have compiled memes that fit into these categories, and help us to understand the rhetoric of these memes, the rhetoric of non-Hillary supporters- ‘write in Bernie’- and in turn, some Trump and Jill Stein supports. I named my ‘meme stash,’ alternatively called ‘meme database,’ the “Hillary Hate Dank Meme Stash.”
Corruption– one of the first categories of memes I looked at. Many of the memes living under corruption focus on more current events like Emailgate! The specific meme I am thinking of was one born of the Emailgate scandal. Full of satirical hate, the meme displays the ideology which exists around Hillary’s scandal prone career, which is sung to to the tune of, ‘Hillary’s career was, and continues to be built, on corruption.’ The meme shows Clinton’s dilated eyes as metaphorical proof that she is bound to have another scandal, especially if she become president.
The authors use this metaphorical representation to discredit Hillary, bring speculation upon her, and make other voters think twice before picking her on the ballot.
In addition to this meme, an article posted to the class website that also displays the dogma that Hillary is a corrupt person, is the “Hillary’s First 100 Days.” The article looks at a fictitious portal of what Hillary’s first 100 days as president would look like. It cronicalizes the popular ideas of corruption, like the placement of friends to high positions, makes fun of Bill and the idea that Hillary did more than him while in the White House, and more.
Like the articles portrayal of Bill and Katy Perry, there is another corruption meme. The meme shows Bill walking in on Obama giving a press conference, he is trying to gain political power again through his wife. It also alludes to the idea that Obama does not actually support Clinton but is forced to because of his dislike of Trump and his need to help the Dems.
The authors feel that these forms of ‘wokeness’ will make people hate, not approve or trust Clinton. It is all about breaking the ethos that Clinton has successful built up and applied to those who still feel her fit.
Untrustworthy– another important and prevalent category. Hand and hand with corruption, the untrustworthy dogma of Hillary hate has a lot to do with the short comings within her career. The memes I found to embody this dogma were related to the beliefs that Hillary betrayed Bernie by rigging the 2016 Dem primary, and Hillary’s past speeches- before her presidential endeavors- which made her seem like a foe of low income, non-white communities, as well as, young people unable to find jobs in the current economic climate.
The first meme, relating to the Dem primary, is a more progressive feeling image of Bernie Sanders with a Hillary campaign clad dagger in his back. Some feel that Hillary did not feel she could win the primary on her own so she had it rigged. These ideas grew even greater once Bernie endorsed Hillary at a New Hampshire rally. Many believed that Hillary scripted Bernie’s words and made him say them. The distrust around any thing Hillary, in the eyes of Bernie supporters, is great.
The other meme is two conjoined photos showing what low income, non-white communities, and young unemployed persons believe Hillary thinks they are doing, then the contrasting image is what the authors believe is their reality. The ideology surrounding this meme is something that has made it very difficult for Clinton to consolidate younger voters and lower income/ minority voters. Many feel that her past comments about these groups make her hard to trust because the comments conflict with her rhetoric that says she is for these people. This is visible in her speech from Keene State while she was First Lady. She uses phrases like ‘superpredators’ to describe these groups, as well as, basement dwellers.
The other categories are just as helpful in analyzing the discontent that Bernie meme authors are trying to create among Hillary’s mention. The other meme categories can be found within the meme database.
Memes are powerful and these specifically show that the rhetoric encased within them can be extreme influential. Bernie supports use these memes to show that they do not agree with the facade Hillary is trying to sell them- they rather make memes, write in Bernie, vote Stein, or stay home. Though there is no way of measuring their effect on Hillary’s campaign on a level divisible by myself, I would have to speculate that these memes definitely have an effect on Hillary’s present and future campaign endeavors. Their disbelieve of Hillary is so unbelievably strong and is to be channeled into stopping her continual rise to higher power.