The meme-filled US Senate race in Pennsylvania between Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Republican celebrity candidate Dr Mehmet Oz took another strange turn on Wednesday on Twitter.
Dr Oz’s latest attempts to undermine Mr Fetterman have focused on comparing and linking the blue-collar Democrat with Senator Bernie Sanders.
Mr Sanders lost the 2016 Pennsylvania presidential primary to Hillary Clinton, but performed decently, bringing in 43 per cent of the vote.
In his latest attempt to link the two labour-focused candidates, Dr Oz’s Twitter account shared a doctored photo of Mr Fetterman and Mr Sanders’ faces imposed onto the cover of the movie Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C Riley. The photo shows the men — their faces covering the faces of Ferrell and Riley — posed for a “family portrait” style photograph wearing sweaters. The words “Best Friends” appears next to the men.
The Republican’s aim appears to be to paint Mr Fetterman as a “socialist” — which has essentially become a catch all term for everything contrary to Republican values — for his support of Mr Sanders and other progressive politicians and causes.
Mr Fetterman’s social media team responded with a meme of its own, sharing a photo of a rainbow image with an intentionally-poorly added cartoon cat in the corner. The text on the image reads “graphic design is my passion.”
That phrase – “graphic design is my passion” — is a meme usually used as a response to poorly made illustrations and images.
In the parlance of entirely too-online social media users, Dr Oz’s post was getting “ratioed” — more users were leaving derogatory comments than liking the image — while Mr Fetterman’s response had more than 23,000 likes at the time of this article. Dr Oz’s had fewer than 1,000 likes.
Those metrics mean very little. According to Pew Research, Twitter users tend to align more with Democrats and left-wing ideals more than right-wing causes, which raises the question why Dr Oz bothered to post the image at all.
Mr Fetterman has been firing back at Dr Oz’s attempts to paint him as a radical socialist by zeroing in on the fact that Dr Oz is not from Pennsylvania originally, but New Jersey. He has hammered Dr Oz at every opportunity for alleged carpetbagging.
Most recently, Mr Fetterman’s campaign commissioned a Cameo video (an app in which people can pay celebrities to record messages for friends) that featured Snooki of Jersey Shore fame praising Dr Oz for being a New Jersey native.
In a previous duel, Dr Oz posted a campaign video featuring people holding signs that linked Mr Fetterman to Mr Sanders and other progressives, including a man slapping a “Fetterman loves Bernie” sticker onto the back of a white van.
“And by the way what’s the deal with the white van? Is that the same van Dr. Oz used to move to PA a few months ago?” Mr Fetterman’s campaign spokesman Joe Calvello told the Pittsburgh City Paper after the ad aired.
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