American citizens across the country have spent the past few months stressing endlessly to one another how important the 2018 midterm elections are.
Not only are the results crucial, but with the public fearing ballot-hacking, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and the possibility of all these things working together to diminish the idea of the popular vote, there’s been an especially intense emphasis on convincing people to get themselves to the polls in overwhelming numbers, in hopes of overriding all these fears with sheer population.
And with so much pressure in effect, it’s inevitable that some of our election energy has manifested itself in the form of memes.
Driving to to vote in the greatest country on Earth like...#VoteToday pic.twitter.com/9xh2pdcNG1— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) November 6, 2018
Voting memes are out in full force on social media — many of them rife with pop culture references — as people rely on a range of real and fictional heroes to remind their friends and followers to do their civic duty and head to the polls.
The mood of the country may be divided and anxious, but that doesn’t mean we can’t unite around a common theme: using memes to express ourselves.
As you wend your way to the ballot box, take a moment to appreciate how several different types of memes are all emphasizing how important it is to vote.
People are using pop culture to urge each other to vote
What’s that? You need extra enticement to vote this year? Let a large range of pop culture icons help you with that!
WE ARE GOING TO THE POLLS— vote nov 6. (@khirahamari_) October 30, 2018
WE ARE VOTING EARLY
Listen to the Hulk. pic.twitter.com/oWyCHwhlIM— Kurt Busiek Resists (@KurtBusiek) November 4, 2018
Vote like Gritty is watching.— Meredith Nudo (@meredithnudo) November 5, 2018
Because Gritty is watching.
Gritty is always watching. pic.twitter.com/gnrrRGhRBN
It's #ElectionDay! We encourage everyone who can vote and who hasn't already to get out there and participate! pic.twitter.com/DltMx1VDkg— American Bar Association (@ABAesq) November 6, 2018
Get in loser, we’re going to the polls. pic.twitter.com/fmcq590C5M— Julia Wick (@sherlyholmes) November 6, 2018
Real-life heroes have also been pressed into service:
Let’s do this. #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/EkLaCcmq4h— shauna (@goldengateblond) November 6, 2018
RBG Voted. And YOU should too. (Spectacular silky pants not required, but they couldn't hurt.) #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/Ws9XfLkEZL— Julie Cohen (@FilmmakerJulie) November 6, 2018
A viral tweet from last year has even made the rounds once again with new urgency:
Have you voted? pic.twitter.com/yQQv3JulP1— Dr. David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) November 6, 2018
Lots of folks are expressing how differently they feel about this election than they did in 2016
The “me then versus me now” meme has been floating around for the past few years, usually manifesting at the end of the year to express how jaded the populace feels after living through 2015. And 2016. And 2017. The time-lapse element in the current Election Day context, however, highlights just how much truly has changed between November 2016 and November 2018.
You might have noticed a distinct shift in the mood of the general population — especially those aligned with the political left — between then and now. For some, that shift presents as a palpable swing away from youthful optimism and toward the cynical, jaded, world-weary determination of an aged oracle with a thousand-yard-stare.
And that’s where the 2018 midterms version of the “me then versus me now” meme comes in:
@robdelaney me going to the polls in 2016 vs me going to the polls in 2018 pic.twitter.com/4d4jpyTBmG— Brad Klette (@bradklette) November 6, 2018
Me voting in 2016 vs. me voting in 2018 pic.twitter.com/0qvz8xA21t— jon rosenberg (@jonrosenberg) November 6, 2018
Me Going to the Polls in 2016:— pajiba (pronounced with a long i) (@pajiba) November 5, 2018
Me Going to the Polls in 2018: pic.twitter.com/XKfxsCJTos
Me voting in 2016 vs. me voting in 2018. #VoteToday #VoteBlue pic.twitter.com/sVUn2mnXts— Theresa Milstein (@TheresaMilstein) November 6, 2018
Going to the polls in 2014 vs. going to the polls in 2018. pic.twitter.com/vXZ5KDtDDV— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) November 5, 2018
Live footage of me going to the polls 2018 pic.twitter.com/kZM5nlT1Rv— Lindsay Smith (@LindsaySmithDC) November 5, 2018
me voting in 2016 vs me voting in 2018 pic.twitter.com/sAI7foXM1V— Brian Scully is VOTING ON 11/6 (@brianscully) November 5, 2018
I just checked the Constitution and there's no law against going to the polls like pic.twitter.com/2abmZ0xwpS— alex graVOTE (@menace2snacks) November 5, 2018
Oh, and here’s a Jaws version of the “me then versus me now” meme, just to, er, drive the point home:
me voting in 2016 vs me voting in 2018 pic.twitter.com/bge58LfOWb— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) November 5, 2018
Drive and determination are a recurring theme
You might have also noticed that many people have expressed a sense of overwhelming determination to make it to the polls this year at all costs. What better way to express that feeling than through images of people gritting their teeth and forging toward their polling place?
Me going to the polls on #ElectionDay regardless of the weather. pic.twitter.com/U4NKEuTIPY— Voto Latino (@votolatino) November 6, 2018
@jimdanko Me going to the polls this morning. pic.twitter.com/ylRYam7PnO— Victoria Danko (@basketcase55) November 6, 2018
Floridians going to the polls over the last week pic.twitter.com/RT6W826ug9— Steve Schale (@steveschale) November 4, 2018
One 2018 Election Day winner has already delivered promising results
Elsewhere, in something of an odd Election Day coincidence, the internet’s reigning king of sexiness, Idris Elba, has been named People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2018 after last year’s winner, Blake Shelton, took the crown amid a swirl of social media backlash.
If you feel like this event expresses something about the current zeitgeist, you’re not alone:
Love that this happened on #ElectionDay... It’s like righting a wrong that never should’ve happened... it’s like goin from Trump back to Obama... pic.twitter.com/j4iqfn7Rie— Cyrus McQueen (@CyrusMMcQueen) November 6, 2018
But no matter his feelings on current US politics and how his Sexiest Man Alive title might be interpreted by the American electorate, Elba, who is British, took the opportunity to leverage his moment to advocate for making voting a priority:
Who'd have thought it! Thank you @people & all the fans for naming me #SexiestManAlive. Don't forget to grab your issue this week https://t.co/WI7eWfXOPB. I'm honoured & thankful. What’s even more important is your vote in the midterm elections. Your vote can make a difference! pic.twitter.com/TBQapjxJsT— Idris Elba (@idriselba) November 6, 2018
What will tonight’s results hold? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain: We’ll be expressing our reactions to them tomorrow in memes.