Right now more of our country’s attention is focused on dissecting tweets than policy white papers, and Democrats find themselves more ineffective than ever at crafting messages that resonate. It’s about time we acknowledge why we are failing to energize voters, and fix it in time for the midterm elections in November.
Let’s revisit the presidential election for a quick moment. It’s easy to remember Trump’s presidential campaign slogans: “Make America great again,” “Build the wall,” “Drain the swamp,” and the classic “Lock her up.” Can you remember any of Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogans?
Since Democrats lost the election, there have been plenty of rationalizations that avoid accepting blame for our embarrassing political failure. For a while we faulted social media platforms that reinforce partisan extremism. Lately we’ve decided that “the Russians” hacked the election – even though nobody has any clue what that really means.
Progressives hate to admit that Trump’s campaign won him 2 million more votes than Mitt Romney received in 2012. Let’s be honest. Trump’s election was mostly the result of a remarkable effort by his campaign and his supporters to rile each other up enough to show up at the ballot – and this was achieved in large part through creating simple, shareable content on social media that sparked conversation.
That brings us to an exploration of the simplest, most shareable content that exists on the internet: memes. We’ve all seen them, but it’s hard to explain them. It’s even harder to understand the massive role they are beginning to play as a vehicle for political discourse, particularly among people below the age of 30.