Why 2020 is the ‘meme election’

President Donald Trump and Democratic candidates like Michael Bloomberg are increasingly using memes in 2020, leaning into the online joke format to make their political cases. Chris Cillizza explains why memes are so important in our current political discourse.

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
‘Thanks Obama.’ The evolution of a meme that defined a presidency.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/02/13/thanks-obama-the-evolution-of-a-meme-that-defined-a-presidency/.

Bernie Sanders is winning the 2020 meme race, but can internet fandom get him elected?
https://www.businessinsider.com/bernie-sanders-democratic-frontrunner-memes-meme-economy-once-again-asking-2020-2.

New Trump ad revives — and mainstreams — ‘Sick Hillary’ attack
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/10/11/new-trump-ad-revives-and-mainstreams-sick-hillary-attack/.

Hillary Clinton Says ‘Radical Fringe’ Is Taking Over G.O.P. Under Donald Trump
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/us/politics/hillary-clinton-speech.html.

Hillary Clinton’s alt-right speech, annotated
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/25/hillary-clintons-alt-right-speech-annotated/.

How Russian Trolls Used Meme Warfare to Divide America
https://www.wired.com/story/russia-ira-propaganda-senate-report/.

Biden parodies Bloomberg memes in video featuring Obama criticism
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/biden-parodies-bloomberg-memes-in-video-featuring-obama-criticism.

How Elizabeth Warren Turned Herself Into A Meme
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/katherinemiller/elizabeth-warren-presidential-campaign-plan-meme.

Wake Up, Democrats! Memes Matter in the Race to 2020
https://www.wired.com/story/opinion-wake-up-democrats-memes-matter-in-the-race-to-2020/.

You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish
https://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/.

Donald Trump ‘likes his intelligence briefings filled with pictures’, says new report
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-latest-pictures-intelligence-briefings-new-report-a7763831.html.

Here are the memes Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign paid influencers to post on Instagram
https://www.businessinsider.com/mike-bloomberg-campaign-memes-paid-instagram-influencers-2020-2.

Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/style/michael-bloomberg-memes-jerry-media.html.

About me:
I was named “best dressed” in 7th grade. That, along with being CNN’s editor at large and author of the daily “Point” newsletter are my proudest achievements. Look for me here every Tuesday and Thursday to find out what’s really going down in politics.

CREDITS
Writer: Chris Cillizza
The Point team: Leigh Munsil and Allison Gordon
Editor: Michelle Cho
Producer: Arielle Sacks

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Bernard Sanders is an American politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007 and as U.S. Representative for the state’s at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007. He is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history, although he has a close relationship with the Democratic Party, having caucused with House and Senate Democrats for most of his congressional career.

Sanders unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States in 2016 and 2020, finishing in second place in both campaigns.

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