The Brief: "I am once again asking" memes feature 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in a variety of comical fictional scenarios using a screenshot from a campaign video where he asks for financial support.
The “I am once again asking for your financial support” Bernie Sanders meme format quickly evolved into more general “I am once again asking” memes. This format expands on the original by presenting Sanders asking for a wide range of things, sometimes with Photoshopped additions to the image to represent fictional characters, celebrities, or other meme formats.
Although many iterations of this format actually depoliticize the format by removing it from its context, the format has also been used by Sanders supporters to refer to specific issues such as the chaos with the Iowa caucus or the difference between socialism and communism.
Good morning! How are you going to help build the political revolution between now and New Hampshire? pic.twitter.com/JSRfn0qbEQ
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) February 4, 2020
Bloomberg’s campaign has used this format in at least two different ads, with opposing connotations. A sponsored meme by Instagram’s @tank.sinatra depicts a supposed DM between Bloomberg and Tank in which Bloomberg sends a version of this Bernie Sanders meme format that reads “I am once again asking for you to make me look cool.” This meme appears to be something of a self-drag in which Bloomberg simultaneously makes fun of himself for needing help to “look cool,” and flexes his apparent knowledge of memes by using a relevant format.
An ad paid for by Bloomberg that condemns the behavior of so-called Bernie Bros, includes a screenshot of a tweet that uses this format with a gun photoshopped into Bernie’s hand and the caption “I am no longer asking.” In this context, Bloomberg’s campaign portrays not the format itself, but a meme that uses it to imply die-hard support for Sanders in a negative light. This video was posted to social media just days after Bloomberg’s collaboration with @tank.sinatra used the format with a pro-Bloomberg spin.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 17, 2020
In addition to spreading overall positive awareness about Sanders’s campaign, these memes can also serve as a reminder for supporters or potential supporters to donate to Sanders’s campaign, as depicted in this stonks meme:
Although the majority of these Bernie Sanders memes are not explicitly political, they’re organically achieving what Bloomberg is trying to buy through his sponsored meme posts by boosting his relatability, especially among Millennials and Gen Z-ers who are literate in the world of memes. These memes Sanders in an overall positive light, spreading his image to wide audiences and demonstrating that he’s cool enough to be the subject of a massively viral meme.
The many mutations of this exploitable image macro, both the directly political and the more generally comical, highlight how political memes can be shaped by individuals with photoshop, by candidates who pay for sponsored posts and by internet meme culture more broadly.
I Am Once Again Asking For More Memes
Explore the breadth of this meme format with the following examples. Although the oversaturation of these memes across social media platforms may cause the format to peter out, its influence has already secured it a spot in modern meme canon.