THE BLOG

Bernie Sanders, America's Most Popular Valentine?

02/15/2016 12:29 am ET | Updated Feb 15, 2016
  • Brian Hanley Political reporter covering the Bernie Sanders campaign

On Valentine's Day 2016, Bernie Sanders supporters unleashed a Twitter bomb of love. In the latest display of hashtag activism, #BerninLove was created and deployed on Sunday to spread the word about Bernie Sanders and his unifying message.

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(Photography by Ghazalle Badiozamani)

A twitter bomb is essentially like a flash mob for social media. Thousands of people come together and post Tweets with the same hashtag in an effort to start a trending topic. The more people who participate, the wider their reach is.

Today, #BerninLove started trending on Twitter, thanks to thousands and thousands of reposts. Kathleen Graves, founder of the Babes for Bernie Instagram account, had this to say about the grassroots Valentine's Day campaign:

"Bernie Sanders is spreading the message of love and inclusion in a YUUUUGE way. He's leading by example and that is what's so powerful. That is why he is connecting with millions of us but also connecting millions of us with each other. He is reaching out across lines of race, age and sex and showing us what is really possible when you're able to put your differences aside and come together for the common good. Look at what we have already accomplished. This is only the beginning."

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Babes for Bernie (Photography: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Art Direction: Sarah Cave)

(Babes For Bernie T-Shirt by Print Liberation® x Babes For Bernie)

Last week, Babes for Bernie hosted its "Bernin' Love" grassroots fundraiser in New York City. "Over 100 people swung by Elvis Guesthouse for a dance, drink or conversation, equally dispersed between genders. We registered people to vote, signed up volunteers, and sold a bit of swag," said Lauren Irwin, Babes for Bernie organizer.

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(Lil Bernie doll courtesy of Emily Engel)

Irwin continued: "So many young women are coming out in support of Bernie and volunteering much of their time to the campaign and its grassroots efforts. A joke amongst us - and the internet - is that Bernie is our boyfriend. Since we obviously can't celebrate Valentine's Day with the man (Jane's got that one covered), we thought we'd throw a party, called "Bernin' Love."

The goal of the event was to bring people together in celebration of not only Bernie, but the strength and excitement of our grassroots movement - the People's Revolution, if you will. Essentially, we wanted to create a space filled with love and camaraderie - what I believe to be underlying values to Bernie's platform. At the end of the day, Bernie Sanders is asking us to come together - despite of our vast differences - and take care of each other; to sow love, compassion and community-mindedness into policy."

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Babes for Bernie is just one organization that's taking to social media and organizing events to promote Sanders. Another group is Team Bernie Fargo-Moorhead, which, this weekend, spearheaded the Valentines for Vets program, in which local students made Valentine's Day cards for homeless veterans.

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While the cards were not specific to Sanders in any way, the event was designed to spread awareness of the fact that 25-percent of the US homeless population is comprised of veterans, who gave much of their lives to serving our country.

Jill St John, Communications Director for Team Bernie Fargo-Moorhead, had never donated to or volunteered for a political movement until Bernie Sanders came along. Now she's spending 25+ hours a week fighting to get her candidate elected.

Politics aside, it's hard not to admire the passion that's driving so much activism this election season, both online and off. It seems Valentine's Day has ceased to be just a day created by greeting card companies. It's now an opportunity for voters, who are compelled by a message of love and unity, to pay it forward.

* The author of this post is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund an entire series of animated rap videos about Bernie Sanders and the 2016 election.

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