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It Happened to Me: The Alt-Right Turned Me Into a Meme

Meet Kevin, the male Hillary voter. Photo: Barbara Kinney/Hillary for America

As the 2016 election cycle limps toward November 8, the male vote continues to be of particular importance to both candidates. One candidate is not a man, and the other is a man — a man whose supporters have semi-seriously suggested repealing the 19th Amendment (the one that gave women the right to vote). For some right-leaning dudes, the idea of a guy willingly supporting Hillary Clinton is just too much to stomach. (In fairness, Clinton has struggled somewhat with white male voters in the polls.) Enter Kevin, a New Yorker and vocal Clinton supporter who woke up on Sunday morning to discover an old picture of him from a Clinton campaign event had been co-opted by alt-right Twitter, labeling him a “truly disgusting specimen” and an “it.”

Select All caught up with Kevin (full disclosure: we were friends in college) to find out what it’s like to unwittingly become a smiling-faced front man for the alt-right cause.

Hi, Kevin. First, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I’m 23, white, and male (obviously, given the photo), and an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter (surprisingly, given my demographics). I don’t work for the campaign now, but I was a field fellow in Iowa during the summer of 2015.

Congrats on being white and male! Good time for you guys right now. Can you tell me a bit more about the event the photo is from?
Thank you, I work really hard at it. That was the day of the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame dinner, and I was helping do visibility before the event, a.k.a. jumping around with posters all day. Before the dinner, though, all of the field fellows got to meet Hillary at a pizza place in Cedar Rapids. Fun fact: That was the same day that Hillary made her infamous “I’m just chillin’ in Cedar Rapids” Vine.

A true classic. So that was roughly a year ago. When did you notice the photo come back via alt-right Twitter?
That was last July. It was posted [on Twitter] on Saturday afternoon. I found out about the photo on Sunday morning.

Was it just luck that you happened to see it on Twitter, or did someone spot you and send it your way?
I’m not that lucky. A friend who works in the campaign’s headquarters was sent it by a friend, and then he sent it to me.

There we go. So what was your initial reaction?
I screamed. My roommate actually came in to see what happened. Then I started laughing because it’s so amazing to me.

It is pretty great. You look very, um, angelic in that picture.
I’m beaming. I didn’t realize Hillary was going to stand right next to me until it happened, so I’m in full shock and awe.

So have you read any of the replies to the tweet?
Of course I’ve read the replies. I have a good sense of humor, so I read them for the absurd comedy.

It’s good you see them that way. Some of them are pretty nasty, but let’s address a few of their more salient questions. Were you or were you not promised sex in exchange for your attendance?

I was not. Only pizza, which is still a pretty good incentive.

Better, some might say. There are also a lot of replies from some charming-sounding folks very concerned about your testosterone levels. Care to comment?
I mean, if it was one person I’d think it was a weirdo. But a lot of people are worried about it! Maybe they see something I don’t. I’ll schedule a doctor’s appointment and say I was referred by the crack medical team of Trump Twitter supporters.

The internet is notoriously good with medial guidance. So, luckily for you, I think, there’s really nothing in that image that would help somebody track you down. Has anybody from the alt-right found you yet?
Not yet! Jake Tapper tweeted at me last week, though, and then a man with a Pepe icon tweeted at me five times in decreasing coherency. That’s as close as I got to the alt-right. He wasn’t hostile, just a little … off-kilter. That’s a nice way to put it.

Probably for the best for you. So how does it feel to have unwittingly become the face of a meme?
It’s hilarious and inevitable. I’ve been a pretty obnoxious Hillary supporter online for the last year, so this honestly feels like karma. I’ve been asking for it. And Hillary retweeted me once last year, which caused another wave of angry people, so I’m familiar with the routine. Stay perfectly still until they lose the scent.

That’s sound advice. So I guess the last question here, and the one on all of our minds: Are you — the male Hillary voter — the same species as us?
If I run for president, you’ll see my medical records, but not a second before.

It Happened to Me: The Alt-Right Turned Me Into a Meme