Nothing says '2020' more than a political rallying cry of 'Settle for Biden'
From selling Biden, Harris tie-dye T-shirts to hawking a coin commemorating Trump’s recovery from COVID-19, people are ramping up their efforts to rally for their favorite candidate as the November election nears.
But there is still a subset of Americans that remain undecided and haven’t been swayed by the presidential debates so far. With the election less than a month away, advocacy groups are putting forth last-ditch efforts to convince those still mulling over their decision to choose a side.
One of the more humorous and popular efforts comes from an advocacy group created and run by America’s youngest generation to be able to vote in this election cycle. The group is urging young Democrats, who might have originally preferred Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, and are discouraged with their final options, to just “Settle for Biden” already.
You might have seen their memes being shared across social platforms, primarily on Instagram where @settleforbiden has more than 250,000 followers, including prominent figures like actress Kerry Washington, actress and musician Zoe Kravitz and YouTube influencer Tyler Oakley who share the posts to their millions of followers.
The account posts witty political commentary and updates on policy proposals from both candidates, and does not skimp on sass. The main concept is that Biden might not be ideal, but he’s far from the worst option. “We’d rather have an average Joe, than a raging psychopath,” reads one. “We don’t know what exactly malarkey is, but we’re pretty sure it’s better than fascism,” reads another post. And another: "Unappetizing but still edible."
The account has also been sure to capitalize on key moments of the debates so far, such as the fly that landed on VP Mike Pence’s head going viral, with posts receiving hundreds of thousands of reactions and comments and tens of millions of impressions.
“Settle for Biden” is the brainchild of 19-year-old Illinois native Samuel Weinberg, who previously backed Bernie Sanders when he was in the race. Weinberg was inspired to launch the account in April after seeing people his age saying that they “saw Trump and Biden as two sides of the same coin” would instead vote for a third party.
“I was incensed by that and thought that didn’t make sense,” says Weinberg. “I thought I would do what I can to defeat Donald Trump and have the left coalesce behind Biden.”
From April to June 2020, it was more of a hobby for Weinberg; he would create a few posts if he had an extra 20 minutes to spare. But it has become a full-time project and Weinberg is leading a team of 20 young grassroots volunteers from across the country—the youngest of which is 17-years-old—to help create a magnitude of content and drive support.
Along with hosting livestream chats with nonprofit leaders and an online store selling “Settle for Biden” merchandise like stickers and hats, the group has partnered with Minnesota teacher Chris Madden who traveled across the country in a van emblazoned with the “Settle for Biden” motto, with accompanying YouTube, Instagram and TikTok accounts documenting his journey to Washington D.C.
“We’re doing what we can to try to mobilize progressives behind the candidate we view as imperfect,” says Weinberg.
This election cycle, memes have been a popular way for Biden, Trump and their followers to gain momentum on social media. It was last February when then-candidate Mike Bloomberg made headlines for working with agency Meme 2020 to create memes to support his campaign.
As the election period winds down, it’s difficult to scroll through any social feed without finding memes bashing or uplifting both presidential candidates, but it’s unclear how much they can actually sway voters who remain on the fence.
“Memes are about emotional resonance,” says Evan DeSimone-Torres, a millennial who follows “Settle For Biden” and often shares posts. “These appeal to people that are already open to a compromise candidate. I don’t think they activate on the doubts of real skeptics.”
Even Weinberg feels that, at this point, posts that put emphasis on getting out the vote could be more effective than redirecting public opinion. “At this point, if people are still undecided, we're skeptical that they'll come around,” he says.