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A timeline of the entire US election in memes

The 2016 Presidential Election was arguably one of the first to be fought online. Here's what went down. 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a meme is worth  at least – a thousand-and-five.

Though traditionalists believe the history books should be filled with "facts" and "figures", the humble meme can arguably be considered one of the most valuable historical sources of all time. Of all time! How could future historians recapture 2016 without a reference to Donald Trump's tiny hands? Who could truly understand our path towards the apocoalypse without stopping to consider Ken Bone

With that in mind, here is a timeline of the entire 2016 United States Presidential Election, presented entirely in memes. Study, children. Those who do not remember Harambe are doomed to repeat him.

14 June 2015 — Jeb! 

Although Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders announced their campaigns to only a little mockery two months before prior, Jeb! Bush caught the internet's eye when he (Jeb!) unleashed his (Jeb's!) brand new 2016 presidential campaign logo. Jeb! seemed pleased with the design, but a subsequent flurry of Photoshops proved he really missed the ! mark.

29 June 2015   Trump Your Cat

Thirteen days after Donald Trump announced he was running for president, people across the land grabbed their pussies to imitate the tycoon's infamous mop. 

26 October 2015  A Small Loan Of A Million Dollars

Explaining how difficult life had been for his billionaire-property-magnate-self up until this point, Donald Trump appeared on live TV to discuss how his father gave him a "small loan of a million dollars" to start him off in life. Out of pity for the businessman, viral videos were borne. 

15 December 2015 — Ted Cruz Is The Zodiac Killer

Although mock conspiracy theories that Ted Cruz is actually the 1960s Californian serial killer known as the Zodiac Killer first emerged in 2013, they boomed in popularity when a Facebook page was created mid-December. Cruz could not have committed the Zodiac murders - which began before his birth - and there was never any serious suggestion that was the case. The sheer absurdity of the mass of memes proved that point.

28 January 2016 — Bernie or Hillary?

This series of fake-but-definitely-should-be-real campaign posters emerged at the beginning of the year to showcase how Hillary and Bernie differed on the truly important issues such as Anime, lizards, and the eventual robot uprising. 

1 February 2016  Sticker Kid

Can any of us truly claim to care about the content of campaign speeches whilst there is a student willing to stand behind Hillary Clinton and plaster stickers all over his face?

6 February 2016 Failed GOP Debate Entrance

At this point, we should have specified that anyone who can't figure out when they should walk on to a stage isn't elligible to run for president, but alas, hindsight is 20/20. 

6 February 2016 — Robot Rubio

Marco Rubio repeated the same line three times within four minutes during the very same GOP debate in New Hampshire, dispelling once and for all the rumour that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing.

1 March 2016 — Chris Christie's Face

After Trump won seven primary elections on Super Tuesday,  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie summed up the world's emotions in one simple facial expression.

3 March 2016 — The Girther Movement

When Marco Rubio attacked the size of Donald Trump's tiny, tiny hands and speculated they might be a reflection of his nether regions, Trump was forced to announce that there was "no problem" at all with the size of his genitals. To this day, however, he has offered no proof of this fact. 

25 March 2016  Birdie Sanders

When a bird flew down to sit on Bernie Sanders' podium during a campaign rally, it was quite clear who God had chosen for president. The bird. God chose the bird. 

25 May 2016  McDonald's Meal Photoshop Battle

Really, after Donald Trump shared a picture of himself eating McDonald's on his private jet, what was the internet supposed to do? What were we all supposed to do? 

9 June 2016 — Delete Your Account


15 July 2016  Trump-Pence Logo

Ah, logos. You spend months and months drafting designs and hiring consultants until you finally come up with a foolproof symbol that in no way looks like two letters fucking each other on the American flag except, oh. 

18 July 2016  Famous Melania Trump Quotes

After Melania Trump was accused of plagiarising sections from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech, the world wide web wanted to make sure she got the credit for all of her other famous quotations. As Melania Trump herself once said, all's fair in love and war. 

25 July 2016 — Crying Bernie Sanders Supporters

When Bernie officially endorsed Hillary at the Democratic National Convention, quite a few supporters found it too tragic to take. Well, either that or they realised Whole Foods had run out of kale.

28 July 2016  The Clintons Love Balloons

Yes, yes, this is the day that Hillary formally accepted the nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention, but most importantly, BALLOONS. 

8 August 2016 — #ManyPeopleAreSaying

Many people are saying that Twitter users finally had enough of Trump's famous phrase in August, and many people are saying that many people turned it into a hashtag that trended worldwide. 

8 September 2016  Basket of Deplorables

This pithy phrase that Hillary coined to label Trump supporters was born to be a meme. Unfortunately, aforementioned Trump supporters then Photoshopped The Expendables poster to feature such a gang, and included a cartoon frog known as Pepe, paving the way for the innocent green critter to be reclassified as a symbol of white supremacy. It's all fun and games until somebody loses Pepe. 

19 September 2016 — Bowl of Skittles

If I gave you a bowl of Donald Trump tweets and told you only all of them would make you hit your head off your desk repeatedly, would you still read them? 

26 September 2016 — Trump Sniffles

No one has any idea what anybody said at the first United States presidential debate, because Donald Trump couldn't stop sniffing loads. At this point, are we sure memes aren't an illumaniti tactic to distract us from the issues going on around us? tHInk abOut It. 

9 October 2016 — Ken Bone

Though many might claim there have been an abundance of memes since Ken Bone asked a question while wearing a jumper at the second presidential debate, this is not the case. Nasty Women, Bad Hombres, and Beyoncé must step aside, for Ken Bone — when he asked a question at the second presidential debtate while wearing a jumper — killed memes. He did not deserve to become a meme, and together, we proved that we did not deserve memes at all.

Think about what you've done.

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.

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The tale of Battersea power station shows how affordable housing is lost

Initially, the developers promised 636 affordable homes. Now, they have reduced the number to 386. 

It’s the most predictable trick in the big book of property development. A developer signs an agreement with a local council promising to provide a barely acceptable level of barely affordable housing, then slashes these commitments at the first, second and third signs of trouble. It’s happened all over the country, from Hastings to Cumbria. But it happens most often in London, and most recently of all at Battersea power station, the Thames landmark and long-time London ruin which I wrote about in my 2016 book, Up In Smoke: The Failed Dreams of Battersea Power Station. For decades, the power station was one of London’s most popular buildings but now it represents some of the most depressing aspects of the capital’s attempts at regeneration. Almost in shame, the building itself has started to disappear from view behind a curtain of ugly gold-and-glass apartments aimed squarely at the international rich. The Battersea power station development is costing around £9bn. There will be around 4,200 flats, an office for Apple and a new Tube station. But only 386 of the new flats will be considered affordable

What makes the Battersea power station development worse is the developer’s argument for why there are so few affordable homes, which runs something like this. The bottom is falling out of the luxury homes market because too many are being built, which means developers can no longer afford to build the sort of homes that people actually want. It’s yet another sign of the failure of the housing market to provide what is most needed. But it also highlights the delusion of politicians who still seem to believe that property developers are going to provide the answers to one of the most pressing problems in politics.

A Malaysian consortium acquired the power station in 2012 and initially promised to build 517 affordable units, which then rose to 636. This was pretty meagre, but with four developers having already failed to develop the site, it was enough to satisfy Wandsworth council. By the time I wrote Up In Smoke, this had been reduced back to 565 units – around 15 per cent of the total number of new flats. Now the developers want to build only 386 affordable homes – around 9 per cent of the final residential offering, which includes expensive flats bought by the likes of Sting and Bear Grylls. 

The developers say this is because of escalating costs and the technical challenges of restoring the power station – but it’s also the case that the entire Nine Elms area between Battersea and Vauxhall is experiencing a glut of similar property, which is driving down prices. They want to focus instead on paying for the new Northern Line extension that joins the power station to Kennington. The slashing of affordable housing can be done without need for a new planning application or public consultation by using a “deed of variation”. It also means Mayor Sadiq Khan can’t do much more than write to Wandsworth urging the council to reject the new scheme. There’s little chance of that. Conservative Wandsworth has been committed to a developer-led solution to the power station for three decades and in that time has perfected the art of rolling over, despite several excruciating, and occasionally hilarious, disappointments.

The Battersea power station situation also highlights the sophistry developers will use to excuse any decision. When I interviewed Rob Tincknell, the developer’s chief executive, in 2014, he boasted it was the developer’s commitment to paying for the Northern Line extension (NLE) that was allowing the already limited amount of affordable housing to be built in the first place. Without the NLE, he insisted, they would never be able to build this number of affordable units. “The important point to note is that the NLE project allows the development density in the district of Nine Elms to nearly double,” he said. “Therefore, without the NLE the density at Battersea would be about half and even if there was a higher level of affordable, say 30 per cent, it would be a percentage of a lower figure and therefore the city wouldn’t get any more affordable than they do now.”

Now the argument is reversed. Because the developer has to pay for the transport infrastructure, they can’t afford to build as much affordable housing. Smart hey?

It’s not entirely hopeless. Wandsworth may yet reject the plan, while the developers say they hope to restore the missing 250 units at the end of the build.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

This is a version of a blog post which originally appeared here.

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