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Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash

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Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash
Bernie Sanders
The Facebook group on March 24, 2016.
Type of site
Facebook group
Available inEnglish
Created byWill Dowd
LaunchedOctober 2015

Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash is a deleted and inaccessible Facebook group where members used to share and discuss Internet memes relating to American politician and United States senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Sanders was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as the 2020 U.S. presidential election.[1] As of December 21, 2020, this page has either been deleted or removed from public view, making the number of members unknown.[1]


The group was created in early October 2015 by college student Will Dowd and author Sean Walsh with the purpose of supporting the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.[2]

On April 25, 2016, the group was temporarily affected by a 2016 Bernie Sanders Facebook groups suspension. SpinMedia's website Death and Taxes's Jamie Peck said that "I myself can report that porn is still popping up in popular FB group Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash, and its members are not amused."[3] Seattle's alternative newspaper The Stranger's Matt Baume said "the group Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash is still up and running."[4]

On July 12, 2016, Sanders formally conceded the nomination and endorsed Hillary Clinton. The community was divided on the endorsement.[5][6]

As of May 8, 2018, the group had a member count of about 417,147 .[7] As of May 8, 2018, the group shed most of its team, leaving only 15 admins / moderators.[8] The Facebook page has over 50,000 likes.[9]

As of October 18, 2019, with Bernie Sanders running for president in 2020, the group had about 394,448 members.[1]

In June 2020 admins renamed the group to "So You Decided To Fuck Around" and stated "The stash has progressed beyond the need for Bernie Sanders."[10]

As of November 2020, the group is inaccessible on Facebook.[10]


The group's content is user-submitted. Members create posts as commentary for Sanders and his presidential campaign. Many posts edit the politician into popular culture, such as rap album covers, or into Internet memes. Memes include image macros. While predominantly based on Facebook, content from the group is also shared on Reddit, Tumblr, and Twitter.[11][12][13] Voting selfies are also uploaded.[12]

The group's moderators aim for positive commentary on Sanders. Memes that are sexist, racist, or ad hominem attacks against other candidates are not approved, but were generally ignored, especially sexist memes against Hillary Clinton.[14] Dowd said little coordination went into the creation of memes.

In 2016 the group popularized the hugely popular meme "Bernie or Hillary?" that pitted Clinton and Sanders as opponents,[11][15][16][17] as well as the "Ted Cruz–Zodiac meme".[18]

On February 10, 2016, another meme, this one an email originally sent to Clinton supporters during the New Hampshire primary, was also popularized via the group. One of the supporters was Maddi Epping, a slam poet from Des Moines, Iowa. The email contained the subject line "I'm not kidding, Maddi". Epping posted a screenshot to the group.[17] The meme became a trending topic on social media platforms and was referenced in several news outlets.[17][19][20]



Vice's Carles Buzz said the group's memes "transcend the traditional media coverage ... The memes are explanatory, deconstructive, self-aware, and incendiary."[14] American electro house musician Steve Aoki called the group "eternally entertaining".[21] Oberlin College student newspaper The Oberlin Review's Josh Ashkinaze called the group "an odd page because political memes usually take a critical stance towards their subject."[22] Yahoo Politics's Alyssa Bereznak called the group the second most popular of the eighteen large groups dedicated to him.[23] Inverse's Jack Crosbie described it as "one online community [that] had emerged as the premier destination for the dankest political memes."[5] Indiana University of Pennsylvania student newspaper The Penn's Jason Daquelente called BSDMS "[o]ne public group that has received a lot of hype."[24] Pacific Standard's Wilson Dizard says the BSDMS membership "revel in Internet language and inside jokes that don't appear on an equivalent Clinton page."[25]

Thought Catalog's Jacob Geers said the group "didn't look like anything I'd ever seen before" and that its memes were "truly hilarious."[26] Fortune's Ryan Holmes called the group "ready-made to go viral", and described its memes as "hilarious, if incongruent".[27] New York's Hudson Hongo said the Bernie Sanders meme community is "just one, small, only slightly connected part of a more expansive, and much weirder, segment of Facebook."[28] The Daily Telegraph's Helena Horton called the group "comedic".[20] The Tab's Roisin Lanigan said "[it's] quite a weird place to begin with".[29] Daily Kos's Nerdstrom said the group would help win Sanders the 2016 United States presidential election.[12] Business Insider's Dan Turkel described it as "bizarre".[30]


On February 12, 2016, new media artist Matt Starr organized the art exhibition "Weekend with Bernie" for Wayfarers Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York. The exhibition included Ryder Ripps's installation "Faces of Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash" featuring Skype video chats with members of the group as well as a painting of American rapper Lil B as Sanders by Canadian record producer Ryan Hemsworth. The exhibition raised over $10,000 in donations to the Sanders campaign.[31][32]


A spin-off dating group, Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles, was founded by a Beth Hannah of Havre, Montana.[12][33][34][35] Members post either Internet memes, personal advertisements, or selfies.[36] On February 22, 2016, the group had over 9,900 members and a team of 20 administrators.[37][38]

Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Singles, in turn, inspired the online dating service, Bernie Singles,[12][34][39] founded on February 17, 2016, by Arizona State University student Colten Caudle and co-owner David Boni. It received 1,000 registered users within the first hour.[35] The website allows users to search for other users based on geographic region.[34]

Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash inspired the Facebook page Ted Cruz Meme Page dedicated to the United States Senator from Texas Ted Cruz and his former presidential campaign.[13] Other figures with dedicated pages include former 2016 presidential candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

Splinter groups like "I Got Banned From Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash" also have thousands of members.[40]

"Faces of Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash" (2016) by conceptual artist Ryder Ripps featuring the "Bernie or Hillary?" meme.
"Faces of Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash" (2016) by conceptual artist Ryder Ripps featuring the "Bernie or Hillary?" meme.


Many publications speculated on whether Internet memes helped Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Former moderator of the group Sean Walsh said, "This generation's memes are that generation's C-SPAN or Huffington Post. Seriously, memes are going to be very prevalent in politics. They're going to get ideas into your head."[11] The Washington Post's Caitlin Dewey believed memes are more participatory than news articles or official campaign letters besides addressing voter apathy through humor.[11] Vice's Carles Buzz found memes curated by the group appealed more to a progressive than their radio station's Facebook page.[14] While examining the popularity of both Sanders and British politician Jeremy Corbyn, Jacobin's Peter Frase used the group as an example that "exploits the incongruity of these men's nebbishy affect when contrasted with their youthful supporters."[41] Fortune's Ryan Holmes found it interesting that the memes had "little – or nothing – to do with Sanders' actual campaign."[27] The Daily Kos's Nerdstrom thought an online community like the group was what rival presidential candidates lacked.[12] In Northwestern University's news magazine North by Northwestern, Facebook page Cats for Kasich founder Blake Kolesa and co-founder Noah Orner called it "one of the many pop-culture phenomena that connect younger voters to politics."[9] Business Insider's Dan Turkel pointed out how the group highlighted enthusiasm among young Internet users.[30] The Daily Dot's Vic Vaiana said the group was one of the first leftist meme spaces to attract significant media coverage as well as increasing the popularity of similar spaces.[40] Brit + Co's Tannara Yelland found Sanders' Internet appeal via memes resonated with Millennials.[42]

See also


  1. ^ a b c[user-generated source]
  2. ^ Alexander, Leigh (March 4, 2016). "Blame it on the Zodiac killer: did social media ruin Ted Cruz's campaign?". The Guardian. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  3. ^ Peck, Jamie (April 26, 2016). "Did Hillary Clinton's super PAC pay trolls to shut down Sanders Facebook pages?". Death and Taxes. SpinMedia. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  4. ^ Baume, Matt (April 26, 2016). "What's Behind the Disappearance of Bernie Sanders Facebook Groups?". The Stranger. Index Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Crosbie, Jack (July 12, 2016). "Facebook's Bernie Sanders' Dank Memes Stash Is Eating Itself Right Now". Inverse. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Tiven, Lucy (July 12, 2016). "Bernie Sanders' Supporters Are Reacting to His Clinton Endorsement With These Memes". ATTN:, Inc. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  7. ^ Dockray, Heather (May 5, 2017). "Neoliberals are trying to do the impossible: Make their memes cool". Mashable. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  8. ^[user-generated source]
  9. ^ a b Schwartz, Isabel (May 4, 2016). "What is Cats for Kasich?". North by Northwestern. North by Northwestern, NFP. Archived from the original on May 9, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  10. ^ a b[user-generated source]
  11. ^ a b c d Dewey, Caitlin (February 23, 2016). "How Bernie Sanders became the lord of 'dank memes'". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Nerdstrom (February 24, 2016). "Bernie Sanders is Going to Win (Because of the Internet)". Daily Kos. Kos Media, LLC. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Cush, Andy (March 24, 2016). "Enjoy These Fresh Ted Cruz Memes From the Ted Cruz Meme Page". Gawker. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c .Buzz, Carles (February 22, 2016). "Can Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash Swing the Election?". Motherboard. Vice. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  15. ^ Hess, Amanda (February 9, 2016). "The Bernie vs. Hillary meme is weird, ceaseless, and kind of sexist, just like the 2016 campaign". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  16. ^ Lewis, Gabriella (March 20, 2016). "We Asked an Expert if Memes Could Determine the Outcome of the Presidential Election". Vice. Vice Media. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  17. ^ a b c Thomas, Stephen (February 11, 2016). "Maddi of #ImNotKiddingMaddi opens up about Hillary, Bernie, and Beyoncé's 'Formation'". The Daily Dot. The Daily Dot. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  18. ^ Baddour, Dylan (April 26, 2016). "Killer cocktail named after Ted Cruz, sort of". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  19. ^ Abalajon, Earl (February 11, 2016). "#ImNotKiddingMaddi Trends After Hillary Clinton Fundraising Email Goes Viral". Yahoo Tech. Yahoo. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Horton, Helena (February 10, 2016). "#ImNotKiddingMaddi trends as Hillary Clinton sends 'desperate' email asking for a dollar after New Hampshire vote". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  21. ^ Aoki, Steve (February 22, 2016). "The 17 Dankest Bernie Sanders Memes On The Internet". Steve Aoki. Aoki Media. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  22. ^ Ashkinaze, Josh (February 12, 2016). "Politicians Should Embrace Internet Memes". The Oberlin Review. WordPress. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  23. ^ Bereznak, Alyssa (February 9, 2016). "The Bernie Bros rule the Internet". Yahoo Politics. Yahoo!. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  24. ^ Daquelente, Jason (April 19, 2016). "When social media and politics collide". The Penn. Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  25. ^ Dizard, Wilson (March 2, 2016). "How Bernie Sanders became the lord of 'dank memes'". Pacific Standard. Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  26. ^ Geers, Jacob (January 29, 2016). "19 Bernie Sanders-Themed Dank Memes That Will Have You LOLing (Whether You're Super Political Or Not)". Thought Catalog. Thought Catalog. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  27. ^ a b Holmes, Ryan (April 18, 2016). "How Bernie Sanders Beats Donald Trump at Social Media". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  28. ^ Hongo, Hudson (February 25, 2016). "The Rise of Weird Facebook: How the World's Biggest Social Network Became Cool Again (and Why It Matters)". New York. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  29. ^ Lanigan, Roisin (March 15, 2016). "'Bernie Sanders Dank Memes Singles' is the weirdest dating site on the internet". The Tab. Tab Media Ltd. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  30. ^ a b Turkel, Dan (February 25, 2016). "This stat shows how big Bernie Sanders is on Reddit". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  31. ^ Ihaza, Jeff (February 24, 2016). "How Artists Have Helped Sustain Bernie Sanders' Run To The White House". The Fader. The FADER Media group. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  32. ^ Armstrong, Annie (February 18, 2016). "Young Artists Rally to Raise $10K for Bernie Sanders". The Creators Project. Vice Media, Inc. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  33. ^ Pangburn, DJ (February 25, 2016). "Meet the Users of 'Bernie Singles,' the Dating Site for Bernie Sanders Supporters". Good Magazine. Good Worldwide. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  34. ^ a b c Silvers, Emma (February 23, 2016). "Only Wanna Date Bernie Sanders Supporters? There's a Site For That". KQED Pop. KQED. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  35. ^ a b Trinidad, Kelsi (February 19, 2016). "Do You Yearn for the Bern? There's a Dating Site for That". The New York Observer. New York Observer, LLC. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  36. ^ Bolles, Dan (February 18, 2016). "So, Is a Thing". Seven Days. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  37. ^ Garfield, Leanna (February 22, 2016). "I tried 'Bernie Singles,' the new dating site for Bernie Sanders supporters". Tech Insider. Business Insider. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  38. ^ Stableford, Dylan (February 18, 2016). "Feel the yearn! aims to connect Sanders supporters looking for love". Yahoo! Politics. Yahoo!. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  39. ^ Guild, Blair (February 19, 2016). "They Found Love In A Sanders Place". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  40. ^ a b Vaiana, Vic (August 25, 2016). "How socialists are seizing the memes of production". The Daily Dot. The Daily Dot. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  41. ^ Frase, Peter (July 5, 2016). "The Survivors". Jacobin. Bhaskar Sunkara. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  42. ^ Yelland, Tannara (February 26, 2016). "If Memes Equal Votes, This Candidate Will Be Our Next President". Brit + Co. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
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