It looks like the hottest new bars on Twitter aren’t coming from rappers, but are instead coming from a very familiar face. Bernie Sanders, the grizzled, junior United States Senator for Vermont and 2016 presidential candidate, is stepping up his second presidential campaign with a more youth-oriented approach that has some folks on Twitter already bestowing him with a new nickname: Trap Beat Bernie.
After receiving criticism in his 2016 campaign for failing to appeal to Black voters, it appears that Bernie’s team has refocused their social media approach. While much of Sanders’ messaging remains the same, nailing the same anti-war talking points that have been one of the cornerstones of his Democratic Socialist platform for a good, long while, now he’s delivering those talking points over pulse-pounding, likely license-free trap beats that have turned his stump speeches into something like politically-charged battle raps.
While delivering “bars” like, “If you think the war in Iraq was a disaster, in all likelihood a war with Iran would be far worse,” with his usual gravelly cadence, the seasoned public servant’s new backing tracks have attracted renewed attention that has social media breaking out the gifs and turning Trap Beat Bernie into a burgeoning meme in its own right.
While leaning into this new characterization may be good for him, he should also be wary; overly pandering on social media bit his 2016 Democratic rival Hilary Clinton in the tuchus back then and could do so for him now — especially since some of the newest, online-native members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have proven so much more adept at using their platforms to explain their policies, without having to rely on danceable backing beats.