Kamala Harris’ awkward quotes are being turned into internet memes


Kamala Harris has emerged as the highest backup candidate ought to President Biden finish his reelection marketing campaign. She has additionally been embraced by one other influential constituency: hyper-online progressive content material creators.

In the previous week, Harris has received a surge of consideration on-line from individuals recasting odd or awkward public moments into memes or viral video clips that usually burnish her as relatable and all the way down to earth. The phenomenon embraced by X personalities, TikTokers and Instagram meme accounts has been in comparison with the rise of a meme inventory: absurd, considerably ironic, however with momentum that might have lasting outcomes, boosting her standing amongst Democratic voters.

Many of the awkward moments being embraced on social media have beforehand been criticized by others as proof that Harris is unserious and out of contact. In December, the Republican National Committee shared a four-minute montage titled “Kamala Harris Is ‘Unburdened’ By Competency” that compiled a number of examples of her encouraging an viewers to contemplate “what can be, unburdened by what has been.” Last week, the identical profound line was among the many moments embraced by social posts that positioned Harris as a likable oddball.

“Everyone who doesn’t want Trump in office was like, okay who do we turn to? And she just has these funny relatable moments online,” mentioned Bailey Stoltzfus, a legislation scholar in Arizona who has posted about Harris on X. “She’s goofy, people characterize her as a wine aunt.” A spokesperson for Harris declined to touch upon the memes.

Posts that includes typically favorable video edits of Harris’s awkward or humorous public moments have amassed a whole lot of hundreds of views on TikTok and Instagram. A thread on X compiling such clips, like when she gleefully declared “I love Venn diagrams” throughout a 2022 occasion on defending reproductive rights, garnered practically 14 million views.


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Last week, searches for “Kamala” and “coconut tree” spiked to their highest ranges all yr, Google information exhibits, because the strain on Biden to step apart elevated and the internet rejoiced in a 2023 speech. At a White House ceremony for an initiative to spice up alternative for Hispanics, Harris broke into a hearty giggle as she associated that her mom would say “I don’t know what’s wrong with you young people. You think you just fell out of a coconut tree?” to remind her kids to concentrate on the context they have been born into.

Harris’s new on-line prominence might assist give the Democratic Party new prominence with younger individuals — together with main content material creators — who are hesitant to vote for Biden once more as a consequence of his local weather insurance policies, assist of Israel’s conflict in Gaza, mishandling of the continued pandemic, and signing a invoice that might ban TikTok.

Ryan Long, a 22-year-old school scholar, just lately spent three hours making a remix of viral clips of Harris set to a Charli XCX tune that has been seen greater than 2 million occasions.

“In the current society, you feel really helpless,” he mentioned. “What can we really do? It’s hard to get politically engaged. All you can do is you can make edits, you can make tweets. It’s a way people can do their best to not support Trump with the resources we have.”

Though a devoted on-line fan base often known as the #KHive boosted Harris’s doomed presidential run again in 2020, her on-line resurgence is being led by progressive leftists on X and Instagram who supported Bernie Sanders’s 2020 run.

“Me, shedding my toxic Bernie Bro baggage and embracing the warmth of Momala’s embrace beneath the coconut tree,” Emma Vigeland, co-host of the leftist discuss present, the Majority Report, posted alongside photos of Nicole Kidman celebrating after her divorce from Tom Cruise.

“There’s a bit of being irony-pilled behind it,” mentioned Will Poole, who supported Sanders in 2020 and runs an account on X with greater than 137,000 followers that consists largely of jokes and memes. “It’s like, s— seems dire right now, but if you give me the drugs that she’s getting then hell yeah, I’m going to roll with her.”

Diana Claire, a TikTok content material creator and Instagram meme account administrator, who is predicated in Oakland, Calif., mentioned that many individuals like Harris as a result of she appears completely different from the standard D.C. politician. “For so long it was the good old boys, Biden and Trump talking about golf,” Claire mentioned. “Kamala is a West Coast fun mom. She looks like a bureaucrat that would still have fun after work and go to karaoke.”

However, progressives boosting Harris content material on-line say their politics stay distinctly to the left of hers they usually are crucial of her historical past as a prosecutor.

June Sternbach, a content material creator and co-host of the “Western Kabuki” internet tradition podcast, has posted Harris content material to her greater than 140,000 followers on X. “I still think she’s representative of everything that’s wrong with the Democratic Party — but she’s funny. It’s about the vibe,” she mentioned. “I think it genuinely started from a palace of irony, but there’s a level where it’s not irony too. No one likes Biden, everyone feels so stuck, everyone feels so down and out. Part of the Kamala thing is the potential that things might just be slightly better.”

Compared to Biden, Harris has an uncanny means to generate viral moments. After Biden was elected, a clip of her in sun shades and exercise gear proudly proclaiming “We did it, Joe” went viral and have become a meme. Former Harris staffers mentioned that they weren’t stunned to see her latest breakout success on-line.

“Even though she’s been in office for the last few years, I don’t think people were looking at her quite as closely or seriously as they are now with the realities of our ticket,” mentioned Deja Foxx, Harris’s digital influencer strategist throughout her main run in 2020. “I kind of always saw the potential for this and I’m excited to see it taking off now.”

Foxx and different staffers on Harris’s presidential run tried to seed her audio clips on TikTok in 2019 and 2020, when the platform was comparatively nascent, with out a lot success. Now, a few of these early sound bites and video clips, akin to Harris dancing down a hallway alongside a line of youngsters, are being resurfaced and getting extra traction. “I always thought she had these really great, memeable trending sounds,” mentioned Foxx.

Jules Terpak, a digital strategist and content material creator, mentioned the clip and different video edits perform like “modern political ads,” and seemed to be swaying sentiment surrounding her candidacy. “[They] are curated by voters and have an artistic touch that doesn’t go through a chain of command before being sent out to potentially thousands, if not millions of voters,” she mentioned.

Claire, the Instagram meme account administrator, says the chance Harris may benefit from viral content material that makes the vp extra relatable causes her to watch out to not enhance such content material an excessive amount of. “She’s clearly trying to put on a facade that she’s a good guy,” mentioned Claire, “but we all know what she’s like, we know who she’s arrested, we know the things that she’s done and she’s had a mixed record. She’s no better than any other politician.”

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