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Why are Bernie supporters posting anti-Hillary memes inspired by Trump fans and literal Nazis?

Hillary Clinton as "le Happy Merchant." Found on the Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash Facebook page
Hillary Clinton as “le Happy Merchant.” Found on the Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash Facebook page

If the remaining #BernieOrBusters want to convince the world that they are something other than “ridiculous” — as the far more grounded Bernie fan Sarah Silverman so aptly characterized them at the DNC last week — the Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash on Facebook isn’t exactly helping.

Bernie himself has bowed to political realities, endorsing Hillary and lending his support for her fight against Trump. Not so Bernie’s Dank Memers. The anti-Trump memes there are surprisingly few and far between. Far more common are memes supporting the Green party’s Jill Stein. And far more common than those are memes attacking Hillary and her supporters with all the subtlety of a channer who’s just mastered MSPaint.

While the anti-Hillary sentiment isn’t that much of a surprise, what is surprising, even a little shocking, is how utterly backwards many of the memes are, echoing classic misogynistic tropes and tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories, and in a few cases, even more bizarrely, repurposing antisemitic propaganda popular amongst GamerGaters and Internet Nazis.

Why would the supporters of a Jewish socialist repeatedly post pictures of Hillary Clinton as the “Happy Merchant?” You’ll have to ask them.

Let’s take a look at some of the more, well, colorful memes.

There’s this lovely reworking of an old sexist joke:

bdm1bill

And this slightly more original offering.

bdm2crab

Here’s Hillary as a beauty pageant winner.

bdmhil

And as a porn star:

bdmpor

Here’s a meme inspired, I guess, by Pokemon Go?

bdmpoke

This one manages to add transphobia to the mix:

bdm3penis

This meme links Hillary with a woman who was famously not convicted of murdering her daughter. At least in a court of law; in the court of public opinion she was considered guilty, guilty, guilty. Apparently in the mind of the mememaker, Hillary not being indicted for deleting emails is the literal equivalent of Casey Anthony getting away with murder?

bdm5casey

There are memes that echo Trump’s, er, “critique” of Hillary:

bdm4crooked

This one, while directed at disgraced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, offers an apologia of sorts for Melania Trump’s plagiarism.

bdmmelania

And here’s one promoting a hashtag that originated with far-right attack dog — and fervent Trump fan — Mike Cernovich.

bdmtongue

And no, I have no idea what’s really going on with her tongue.

There are some memes that reek of conspiracy theory, though it’s a little hard to tell how many Bernie fans take these seriously.

bdmballoons

There are a surprising number of memes depicting Hillary as a reptilian space alien. I’m going to assume they’re all meant as jokes, because it’s too depressing to contemplate otherwise.

bdmreptiel

Naturally, there are more than a few memes attacking Sarah Silverman for her “ridiculous” remark, with many of the mememakers assuming she was paid to make it.

bdmsara

But it’s the “Happy Merchant” memes that truly baffle.

Here’s a typical “Happy Merchant” meme, using the now-infamous cartoon that originally appeared in a neo-Nazi newsletter.

happy2

And here’s Hillary in the same role, from the Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash:

hilhappy

The most depressing thing? This isn’t just some random Facebook page. The Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash page has more than 438,000 members. I can only hope most of them are less backwards than those posting memes on the page today.

H/T — r/againstmensrights

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Avid Squirrel
Avid Squirrel
5 years ago

Thank you for the kind reception, Kupo and Axe, but I hope you’ll understand that I must again say I’m not here to change anyone’s mind about Clinton. I’m too emotionally exhausted for that, and I sense it would only cause more stress for all of us at this time. (To be honest, when I started writing my first comment, there were only a few comments here. By the time I finished, I was so upset by what saw that I probably wouldn’t have commented at all if I hadn’t already written it up.)

What drove me to comment was the fact that those horrible memes are absolutely not a representation of how most of us “Bernie or Bust” people think or feel. All of the ones I know are deeply caring people. And my heart tells me most of Clinton’s supporters are deeply caring people, though many at our county and state conventions were certainly less than gracious toward my husband and me.

It’s just that we’ve reached different conclusions during this awful, messy election year. What makes things harder is that Americans are not all receiving the same information, depending on where we get our news. The point I’m trying to make is that we’re not on opposite ends of a spectrum, most of us. We just fall on one side or another of a line. A really crappy, unfortunate line.

No one I know is making this decision lightly. For my husband and I, at least, I’d say it’s been like choosing to undergo a dangerous, painful surgery, knowing you’d almost certainly die without it. Again, I’m talking about what we believe. We’re voting for Jill Stein and taking a risk that we believe is necessary. If we’re wrong and Trump really would bring on total calamity, I pray to God that we will all fail to stop Clinton. But none of us knows the future.

This hasn’t been an easy path to take. We’re definitely feeling the pressure.

If you watched Sanders’ speech at the DNC convention, you may have seen some of his supporters (including but not limited to young white men) openly weeping when he reiterated his endorsement of Clinton. That wasn’t “sore losers being crybabies”. It was the physical manifestation of hearts breaking on national television.

I’m not bringing this up to make anyone worry about hurting our “fee fees”. I want you all to understand that we are human beings and we’re doing what we’re doing–even if history will prove us to be tragically misguided–from a place of desperate, abiding love for all.

GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina
GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina
5 years ago

For the record, Mike Pence has stated that if Trump is elected, Roe v. Wade WILL be overturned.

invivoMark, Men's Rice Activist
invivoMark, Men's Rice Activist
5 years ago

I just don’t want to vote for war. Is there any way I can vote against war and still be a good person?

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

If we’re wrong and Trump really would bring on total calamity, I pray to God that we will all fail to stop Clinton. But none of us knows the future.

Again. Supreme Court appointments. What is it going to take to get people to understand this? The Supreme Court appointment is FOR LIFE. The court goes right wing, it will stay that way for decades. Decades.

Is that not enough of a fucking calamity for people?

I just do not get why this will not sink in with some people.

Please. Remember 2000. Lots of progressives were taking this same attitude. What did we get? Eight years of war. Eight years of illegal torture of prisoners. An economic crash. And Trump is even worse. I can not believe people’s memories are so short that they can’t learn from a history that only happened a few years ago.

So yeah, calamity. A calamity that praying will not do anything stop.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

I just don’t want to vote for war. Is there any way I can vote against war and still be a good person?

I’m trying to think of a way a sentence could get more passive aggressive and manipulative, but I’m coming up with nothing.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@Squirrel

Thank you for the kind reception, Kupo and Axe

Don’t just thank me and kupo (your nym keeps autocorrecting to ‘kill’, BTW) for being nice. You may not like what was said, but WWTH, Johanna, etc took the time to address you, and are well within their rights to be angry by what you said. Please, don’t dismiss them

those horrible memes are absolutely not a representation of how most of us “Bernie or Bust” people think or feel

It doesn’t really matter tho. In my view BoB is enabling Trump. Whether the enablers are good people or channers, actions speak louder. The loudest action what can take is in the voting booth. What will your vote say?

If we’re wrong and Trump really would bring on total calamity, I pray to God that we will all fail to stop Clinton

Whoops, too late?

That wasn’t “sore losers being crybabies”. It was the physical manifestation of hearts breaking on national television

I’m not really seeing a difference

I want you all to understand that we are human beings and we’re doing what we’re doing–even if history will prove us to be tragically misguided–from a place of desperate, abiding love for all

You’re doing what you think is best. I understand that totally. So must I, and that means (and I loathe to use this word, but…) educating BoB types about the very real mistake I think you’re making. Not in voting for Stein. You are 2 of 130m people, statistically meaningless. The problem is when you spread harmful ideas about the candidates
You bring up surgery. A good surgeon will tell you that, even if they think a particular procedure is the right way to go, there are real risks to any operation. They will give you alternatives. They will be honest and thorough. Saying Donald Trump is, at worst, a potential embarrassment is bad medicine

@Mark
No. You can’t. Fewer people die from war today than at anytime in history. D’ya what the most deadly war today is. Not ISIS, not Somalia, not Afghanistan. Mexico. The drug war, that only the Democrats have any chance at curbing. War is, for the foreseeable future anyway, constant. Rare is a war with a clear solution. It exists, it’s in our backyard. Help end it!

Kootiepatra
5 years ago

I want you all to understand that we are human beings and we’re doing what we’re doing–even if history will prove us to be tragically misguided–from a place of desperate, abiding love for all.

It would indeed be cruel to say that people who don’t vote for Clinton are less than human. Fortunately, neither the article or the commenters have done that.

I can well believe that you and your husband and your friends are decent people who are voting third party because you have deep convictions about it being the right thing to do. But ultimately this is irrelevant to what this article is about–there is an extremely vocal, non-trivial group of Bernie-or-Bust folks who are openly misogynistic and anti-Semitic. They don’t oppose Clinton because they have made a painful moral choice; they oppose her because they have a fundamental problem with women and believe that any powerful person they don’t like is part of the Jewish Illuminati. The fact that you don’t personally know them doesn’t make them less vocal or influential or problematic.

The existence of nice, sincere never-Clinton voters does not change the fact that there is a Facebook page 400k people strong that think it’s okay to portray her as the happy merchant. That’s messed up. Saying that it’s messed up does not imply anything about *all* third-party voters, but it sure says something about *that* group of third-party voters. They are saying awful things. There is a sickeningly large number of them saying awful things. This is a fact, and it ought to have light thrown on it.

If that group of 400k people does not represent you, then that’s great. But it is better to decry the anti-Semitism yourself than to expect the people who are decrying the anti-Semitism to stop and spend a lot of time on the unrelated point that non-bigoted people exist.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@invivoMark:

I just don’t want to vote for war. Is there any way I can vote against war and still be a good person?

I think I understand where you’re coming from. I don’t think you’ll find a more hardline pacifist than me, and it sickens me that every person I vote for in every election I’m allowed to vote in, is in favour of turning homes into rubble and children into orphans. On that I think we see eye to eye.

However:

A) There is such a thing as the Nirvana fallacy: ignoring better-than-nothing possibilities because they aren’t the best-possible outcome. This is a trap that a lot of kind-hearted people fall into, and it leads to disaster. You need to recognise when you’re falling into it.

B) If you want an anti-war group to win, the way to do that within a democracy is to change the policy of an existing group to be anti-war. The Tea Party understood this, which is why they’re strong. Momentum understand this, which is why they’re strong. The Greens in America don’t understand this, which is why they’re weak. You need to work within the system. If you stand outside the gates and demand that they change their entire policy just for you, you will not ever get listened to.

C) Please stop your fucking whining. If you want to be a good person, volunteer at a shelter. Donate to Paradoxy or Dalillama’s moving-house fund. Give blood. Escort at an abortion clinic. Do something. Simply complaining on the internet is not something.

Do something, and then vote Democrat.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 years ago

And if you’re against war : vote Clinton.

Bryce
Bryce
5 years ago

Irresponsible, complacent, narcissistic. All I have to say about these Bernie sycophants, and I would have voted Sanders if I lived in the US.

Is it too implausible to think they might care about the rest of the world then, or even their own interests?

The Iran Deal.

The delicate alliance between the US, Turkey, Iran and Russia in the middle east at the moment.

The prospect of massive increases in military expenditure put on the US credit card.

Trump’s tax cuts, almost halving the top income tax rate in a plan so bizarre and poorly though through economists in the US don’t even know how to assess its impact.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

I thought about ‘shopping the BernieBros as Anakin and Bernie as Obi-Wan at the end of RotS, with the latter lamenting “It was said that you’d destroy Trump, not join him!” and former rising from the fires of Mustaphilly as Darth OrBust, but they really don’t deserve that much respect.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

… but they really don’t deserve that much respect.

Missed the edit window again: “They” being the Bros, not Bernie. I like Bernie, it’s not his fault some of his most vocal fans are total assflaps.

authorialAlchemy
authorialAlchemy
5 years ago

I heard a similar metaphor earlier where platforms were apartment buildings.

Our ideal apartment complex is extremely progressive and provides well for its tenants. It hasn’t been built yet, but there are rumors of plans and people willing to carry them out.

Hillary’s apartments are okay for now, even if you want to live in the non existent apartment. It won’t fall apart and everything works. It’s clean and well kept. Normal. Safe for most. It’s kind of like the apartment you grew up in, only less discriminatory. Hillary the Landlady is shady as fuck, but not much more shady than other landlords.

Donald’s apartments pretend to be great on paper, but so many people end up evicted. It’s roach infested. It’s also full of fire hazards and painted with lead paint. Donald the Landlord is an out of touch rich man who only uses the property to turn a profit and does not care who he hurts. You do not want to live there.

Fabe
Fabe
5 years ago

Just for clarification folks I don;t want to see Trump elected,I don;t want to see any one ‘thrown under the bus’. it just seems to me that america is heading towards a trump presidency whether they want it or not. The republicans are goose stomping the nation towards a cliff and the democrats are too busy infighting to stop them.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Thank you, Kootiepatra. As ever, you are the best of us.

BVH
BVH
5 years ago

In response to the persons defending 3rd party votes of “conscience”, I will echo the sentiment you do this from a place of privilege. Meaning that, if worse came to worse and Trump won, you do not feel you or anyone you know would be directly negatively affected.

But if you’re voting 3rd party in the belief its possible to win, you are seriously misguided. A third party has no chance in our current “first past the post” election system. That can be changed. With aggressive campaign finance reform, in time voters may wish to change the system to something more equitable, but at this point in time, we must deal with the reality of voting mechanics in our systems as is.

And these mechanics dictate, baring major political upheaval or natural disaster, 3rd(and 4th,5th, 6th, etc) parties are a mugs game in a system that numerically defaults to 2 parties over time.
It’s not a matter of conscience.
It’s not a matter of lessor or greater evils.
It’s definitely not “there’s no difference between the two parties”. All that twaddle is extremist propaganda pushed by 3rd party actors who want to profit from the general public’s ignorance about how modern politics work.

I despise Jill Stein, not just because she’s a conspiracy enabling kook, but, if her Wikipedia page is any indication, she’s been an activist long enough to know exactly HOW the system works.She should know how the math works and, given what’s at stake(the threat of a proto-fascist being voted to the presidency) the responsible thing for her to do would be to drop out and step aside.

You can bleat right-wing fanfic conspiracy theories about Clinton all day long, but it won’t change the math of our electoral system. And that math says 3rd parties can’t win, and, in this dire time, voting for one will only take votes away from the best chance to beat Trumpolini.

My .02

Nequam
Nequam
5 years ago

I just don’t want to vote for war. Is there any way I can vote against war and still be a good person?

He thinks a Trump presidency wouldn’t be warmongering, bless his heart.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

it’s bewildering to watch this election campaign from across the Pond. It’s not surprise that random people on the internet come out with hateful rhetoric and inflammatory hyperbole; we’re used to that now. However it’s when it comes from the heart of the actual campaign itself. See below.

Roger Stone, a long time confidante of Trump, amplified these concerns in an interview with a far right wing radio show.

Stone said: “I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly.”

Laying out a strategy for Trump to adopt, Stone added: “He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’”

He also promised a “bloodbath” if the Democrats attempted to “steal” the election.

Tessa
Tessa
5 years ago

In response to your bafflement about Bernie supporters posting anti-Semitic memes, I called this months ago. As someone of Jewish ethnicity who has faced a great deal of antisemitism in recent years in the US, including serious physical violence, I saw that Bernie was only a viable contender for POTUS at all because he fit the definition of a “respectable” Jew. He was very vocally anti-Israel, actively shied away from discussing his ethnicity and family background, and most importantly, based his platform on fighting financial corruption and helping poor people. In other words, he avoided all of the trappings of the stereotypical, scapegoated Jew that the left in particular so often blames for oppression of pretty much everyone else.

So it is totally consistent to support a Jewish candidate because he meets your criteria for being “one of the few good Jews” and then spew vile antisemitism at another candidate.

I am way out on the far left and didn’t think Bernie was much of a socialist, tbh.

The Real Cie
The Real Cie
5 years ago

I was and am a Bernie supporter, and I am doing what my first choice for Democratic pick advised. I am voting for Hillary Clinton, because she is our best chance of stopping that racist, womanizing megalomaniac from being elected President.
Bernie Sanders will still be doing good as a senator.
I hope people actually listen to his advice. Even if you don’t like Hillary Clinton all that well, surely she is the lesser of two evils in this election.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 years ago

“That wasn’t “sore losers being crybabies”. It was the physical manifestation of hearts breaking on national television. ”

It can be that *and* sore losers being crybaby. Sanders have endorsed Clinton, and honestly it’s not hard to see why when you actually look at her career instead of looking at slanders.

She may be a worse president than Sanders, but she is more than good enough to vote for.

Monzach
Monzach
5 years ago

This election won’t affect me directly, at least not straight away. I live in one of the safest countries in Europe and have no intention in visiting the States in the foreseeable future. Therefore, I don’t feel like it’s my place commenting on the election or the strategies involved. However, I do feel like I can with good conscience point out one fact to the Bernie or Busters out there: Your candidate is no longer running for President. He lost the primaries. He took it gracefully and is now endorsing Mrs. Clinton for President. I don’t think there should be any questions about who Bernie supporters should vote for.

But, like I said, the election result won’t affect me personally, at least no more than it does every man, woman and child on planet Earth. I remember the election in 2000, I remember it very well, in fact. I honestly don’t want to see another disastrous Republican presidency during my lifetime.

Thank you for your attention, fellow Mammotheers. 🙂

ViolinlessHoax
ViolinlessHoax
5 years ago

A discussion on politics happens and suddenly there’s three pages of comments. Seems about right.

@sevenofmine (I hope that I got the name right), some time ago:

I kinda suspect they like the idea of supporting a female candidate from a “safe” position of not having to contemplate her actually winning. It’s like how a lot of men will say they love intelligent, confident women but will write off actual intelligent, confident women as insufferable shrews when they actually meet them.

I have a friend who claims to be a feminist, he always mentions how he’s been raised by strong women and works with strong women and supports women’s issues… but usually when I mention a feminist who has something to say about women’s issues (usually from the web, like Anita Sarkeesian) he dismisses her and says she’s a feminazi who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Yyyyyyeah, you’re a real feminist, buddy. It’s kind of the same as you were saying, he’s comfortable with feminists as long as they don’t say anything.

@everyone who had difficulty getting through the comments
I feel you. I don’t even live on the same land mass and I have real difficulty dealing with the whole political situation in the US. A Trump presidency scares me a lot and thinking about it makes my stomach knot up. You’ve got my fervent support and I hope you (as a country) gets through this. I hope we all get through this.

msexceptiontotherule
5 years ago

Trump is a person who should NEVER be allowed near the ‘football’, much less get to be the one to press the buttons on it and blow up a whole lot of the world. That’s for EMERGENCIES, and trying to scare other countries into building a wall is not considered an *emergency* (there’s a whole lot of things also on the ‘not an emergency, dude, don’t touch that button’ list…)…However, there are many reasons to NOT vote for Trump, and just as many for why we need to get out and VOTE. Period. This election is coming and there’s a lot riding on a non-Trump outcome. Great googly moogly people, we cannot let what he stands for win!

Do I have to get the paddle out? I will, don’t test me.

Keated
Keated
5 years ago

UK resident here, so no real say over any of this. Was hoping Bernie would win the nomination but Clinton has, in theory at least, pledged to put many of his plans into action. Drumf will be a nightmare you can’t wake up from (Brexit feels much the same way, so trust me when I say having your future sold out feels rotten) and last I saw the polls were close, so it really makes little sense to undermine Clinton rather than elect her and hold her to account if she magically forgets all her Bernie inspired policies when elected.

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