Mitten, Memes, and Momentum


A cold Bernie Sanders swept the stage at the inauguration. Graphic by Karen Rivera

While President Joe Biden was being sworn into office, he was quickly outshined by the rampant discourse surrounding a certain pair of mittens worn by Bernie Sanders.

Junior Isabella Lopez said, “Since we were in class during the inauguration I was trying to keep up with what was happening in the capitol, especially after we saw the rioters earlier in the month. But I definitely was not expecting that photo of Bernie Sanders in mittens to go as viral as it did.”

The photo prompted many users across many social media platforms to place the cold, and sitting Sanders in a large variety of situations. From iconic movies to tv shows, Sanders could be found doing just about anything.

Lopez said, “My favorite edit of Bernie has to be the one of him sitting with Anna Wintour and Cardi B at Alexander Wang’s NYFW show in 2018.”

The iconic pair of mittens was soon found out to be the handwork of Vermont elementary school teacher Jen Ellis.

Sanders used the viral success of his image to fundraise for charity. Although the specific amount was never disclosed it was presumably a great amount of money based off the words of Jen Ellis.

Sander’s usage of his virality on the internet to fundraise and make the most of his quirky mittens highlights the underlying power of teens and young adults on the internet in the political sphere.

For quite some time we have seen more and more politicians appealing to younger generations than ever before.

During the election season, we saw influential politicians like Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stream on platforms such as where users in their teens and twenties accounted for more than three-quarters of Twitch’s active app accounts in the United States as of May 2020.

Albeit a bit silly to see grown politicians playing video games and selling merchandise of memes made in their honor, it speaks to the values of teens and young adults across America.

For too long politics have excluded the youth vote in favor of more reliable middle-aged voters. The great momentum incited by the youths of America has been proven to be substantial in their efforts to rally, protest, advocate, and fundraise.