The Brief: With the possibility of civil unrest after the 2020 election, "civil war" memes imagine and joke about extreme post-election scenarios.


As the U.S. waits for the results of the 2020 election, businesses across the nation are boarding up their windows, and meme-makers are semi-jokingly getting ready to survive a civil war. Americans are anticipating the possibility of civil unrest, violence, and a contested election, and memes reflect this anxiety. One common thread of election memes suggest that a “civil war” is coming and joke about possible ways to prepare. These memes include both ironic comments and serious references to the instability that could follow this election.

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On TikTok, some creators are wondering what outfits they’ll wear and what roles they’ll play in the upcoming “war.” Some of the top videos under the hashtag #CivilWar on the app reference a potential modern-day war.


are we color coordinating by state or political party? #WeWinTogether #movember2020 #fyp #foryou #viral #civilwar #election #comedy #blacktiktok

♬ original sound – Sparkle

Other videos ask if the minutiae of everyday life like doing homework will matter after the election:


uh I’m scared #duet #covid #civilwar

♬ original sound – Bharati Carmona

This video rightly points out the dangers of planning or promoting any actual kind of violence against others:


Hey guys, maybe we shouldn’t harm members of our community? Just a thought tho #election #civilwar #democrat #republican #fyp #foryourpage

♬ 432 Hz – SUNRAE 🌞

After images of a boarded-up Sweet Green started circulating on social media, many people joked about the idea of a cashless salad restaurant preparing to be looted.


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Some people are using this as an opportunity to be horny on main:

Others have noted that these jokes aren’t always in good taste as they can make light of violence, spread fear, and trivialize serious issues.