The iconic “I am once again asking for your financial support” politician is making his rounds in popular media again, wearing the same jacket, but with an added touch this time.
ANOTHER ICONIC MEME
Bernie Sanders, the 79-year-old U.S. Senator from Vermont and chair of the Senate Budget Committee, was captured at Joe Biden’s inauguration donning mittens and a scowl evident even beneath his mask. The inauguration was truly unlike any other in American history, due to both the COVID-19 pandemic as well as an attempted coup earlier in the month. It was, however, Sanders’ casual dress and distinctive manner that stood out. Since the inauguration, Sanders has gone viral, as people on the internet have photoshopped him into famous settings, such as scenes from popular films.
Despite losing in the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders became a key figure in helping Biden develop the platform for his election. Sanders considers himself a democratic socialist, who advocates for economic equality, climate justice, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and assault weapon bans. Many of his social and economic policies are said to match those of the Nordic Model.
Fun fact: During his campaign, when he was running against now-president Biden, Sanders filmed a now-infamous fundraising video, which propelled him to fame among millennial and Gen Z voters after a clip from the video was turned into a viral meme. In fact, the image of him wearing his taupe-coloured coat with the text, “I am once again asking for your financial support” became so popular, it made Time Magazine’s list of the most impactful memes of 2020.
MEME TO MERCH TO MEALS
Sanders took the opportunity to capitalize off this fame by selling sweatshirts and T-shirts adorned with the beloved image–but for a good cause, of course. 100% of the proceeds from his merch sales will be used to fund Meals on Wheels Vermont, a program that seeks to reduce food insecurity for seniors.
Jen Ellis, a teacher from Vermont, created the mittens from wool sweaters and lined them with fleece made from recycled plastic. Ellis’ daughter was a student at a pre-school where Sanders’ daughter-in-law was a director. Upon hearing the news that Sanders lost the nomination to become the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, Ellis made him the mittens as a gift, along with a note encouraging him to run again.
Ellis has since received more than 13,000 emails about the mittens, though she has expressed that she will not make more to sell, as they were a gift, unless the opportunity arose to make some for a charity auction.