In this year’s crowded Democratic primary field, where death by a thousand tweets can strike at any moment, the pressure is on for candidates to seem #relatable to their supporters. Elizabeth Warren films herself calling hundreds of donors; Pete Buttigieg’s campaign has embraced a jazzercise-style dance to Panic At The Disco’s single high hopes; and Bernie Sanders is breaking the Internet with a video of himself shuffling down a wintry suburban street, enunciating into a hand-held camera with the very recognizable discomfort and determination of your dad making his first ever FaceTime call.
In the advertisement, which the Sanders campaign has disseminated through Twitter and other social media platforms, Bernie asks his supporters to donate to his campaign ahead of Federal Election Campaign fundraising deadline.
The truth is, we have an excellent chance to win the primary and beat Trump.
But the only way we can do that is if we have the sufficient financial resources.
So I am asking you today to contribute to our campaign before the FEC deadline: https://t.co/9y9BZMs0GMpic.twitter.com/wnYbUDBynW— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 30, 2019
It soon emerged as the appeal that launched a thousand memes.
I am once again asking for your financial support. pic.twitter.com/N3QlMo7Rt0— LightTophat (@LightTophat) January 24, 2020
As it turns out, his awkward-but-earnest plea did resonate with voters, who used the clip to comment on many of life’s cringe-worthy moments
Like the agony of asking parents for yet another favor.
Or finding a recognizable beer to drink.
Meanwhile, one Twitter user turned the ad spot into a take on “Cats.”
my cats moments after i’ve filled her food bowl pic.twitter.com/6oRYYK5Onl— rae paoletta (@PAYOLETTER) February 3, 2020
While someone else reimagined the candidate as Ariana Grande (one of the senator’s most, um, vocal supporters).
pic.twitter.com/F3iQzApC8n— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) February 2, 2020
And yet another saw an opportunity for a “Talking Heads” throwback.
pic.twitter.com/r7sYI7zjMj— Grace Spelman (@GraceSpelman) January 30, 2020
In today’s volatile Twitterscape, it’s a testament to Bernie’s appeal that the vast majority of “financial support” memes are good-natured. And while we all have a little fun at his expense, Bernie may have the last laugh: as he says in the video, he’s received more contributions from more individual people than any presidential candidate in American history.
Irene Katz Connelly is an intern at the Forward. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.