PHILADELPHIA — “Hillary for Prison!!”
Even more so than “TRUMP THAT BITCH!” or “Hillary Sucks But Not Like Monica,” the above refrain has gained traction as a catchphrase on the 2016 campaign trail. It’s already a common mantra on the right and in conservative circles that adore Donald Trump.
“Hillary for Prison” swag was some of the most popular and pervasively visible items sold around the Republican convention in Cleveland last week. “Lock Her Up” was declared the “unofficial slogan” of this year's GOP gathering, and Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly called for Hillary Clinton to be sent to the slammer.
The slogan has, apparently, some cross-ideological appeal.
Hardcore, #NeverHillary-style supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (whose most rabidly devoted fans had previously held out hope that a Clinton indictment would automatically hand the nomination to their candidate) have also gleefully embraced the phrase—an appropriation that was on full display at the Democratic National Convention here this week.
Anti-Hillary, pro-Bernie protesters who rallied outside the perimeter at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday afternoon frequently chanted “Fuck Hillary, Fuck Trump!” with equal servings of “Lock Her Up!” Multiple Sanders fans at the organized protest proudly raised placards and sported T-shirts reading “Hillary for Prison.”
“She’s the worst—worse than Trump in my opinion. She’s clearly owned by the bankers,” one Bernie supporter, wearing a “Prison” shirt, told The Daily Beast on Monday. “She’s a puppet of the military-industrial complex.”
On the convention floor, multiple Sanders delegates (some of whom were literally crying over the thought of Bernie’s loss) relentlessly pushed the “Hillary For Prison” meme on Monday. As Day 1 of the convention kicked off, several Bernie delegates could be seen making a hand gesture in which they knocked their wrists together. This was explicitly a signal and symbol for “Lock her up!”
“We must rise to get her to prison,” one of the mildly witty repurposed signs read.
These pro-incarceration sentiments directed at the former Secretary of State come from a small but noisy minority of potential Democratic voters. As much as Trump enjoys bragging about how he’ll win over large chunks of disaffected, Sanders-loving progressives, there is shockingly scant evidence to show that the crossover is anything but negligible.
The spillover of the extreme “Hillary For Prison” maxim into certain corners of the left is an episode in this presidential election that, at the very least, plays into Trump’s bizarre, big-tent narrative.