MetaFilter's site and server can always use upgrades of hardware, software, and bandwidth, as well as more stable funding for continued support of its small but high-skilled moderation and backend team! If you'd like to chip in, you can donate to Metafilter.

Archived 2016 Election Thread Reference

From Mefi Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Most of the content of the 2016 Election Thread Reference wiki page has migrated to U.S. Politics Thread Reference. However, this version is saved here for posterity.

The 2016 election posts, amid their many thousands of comments, have inspired a range of new in-jokes, references, and tropes. As new Mefites join the threads, some of these may be bewildering, strange, or just plain unfunny. This page helps chronicle them to help make election threads a little more comprehensible.

Actually go do stuff

  • If you're eligible to vote, go vote! User lampshade has assembled a collection of helpful links about registering to vote, getting voting information, and finding your polling place. also provides easy voter registration information.
  • Make calls! You can use this link to join the MetaFilter call team and make calls on behalf of Hillary Clinton and downballot Democrats from the comfort of your home.
  • If someone tries to prevent you from voting or intimidates/challenges you and you feel you have the right to vote, call one of these hotlines. They're non-partisan and will walk you through the situation and your rights.
    • 866-OUR-VOTE (English1)
    • 888-VE-Y-VOTA (Spanish2)
    • 888-API-VOTE (Asian languages3)
    • 844-418-1682 (Arabic4)


  • Classic/Plain theme: Device/browser lagging horribly on a 4,000 comment thread? Switching to the classic or plain theme in your user preferences may make it somewhat more usable.
    • Mobile performance on Android: On Android, Firefox seems to handle gigantic MetaFilter threads a bit better than Chrome. (Changing browsers on iOS doesn't matter because it's all Safari under the hood.)
  • Debate threads: These are generally posted shortly before the event, to prevent them from filling up before the thing has even started. Coordination may take place in the Election Debate Logistics Thread. Debate thread etiquette is also discussed therein, especially guidance around ensuring that posts in the main thread are more than reactionless context and the availability of chat.
  • My MeFi: The often-overlooked My MeFi tab on the front page will let you use tags to follow FPPs that particularly interest you. "election2016" is the common tag for this election.
  • Open links in new windows: Avoiding clicking on links in super-long threads because you'll have to reload afterwards? Go to your Preferences and tick the third checkbox, 'Open links in new windows'.
  • Private Browsing: Many news sites that are frequently linked from election threads use cookies to limit how many articles can be read in a month. Users can bypass the limit by opening links in a new private browsing window (Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+P in Firefox, Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N in Chrome, Cmd+Shift+N in Safari).
  • Time stamps: Clicking on the time stamp of a comment updates your position in the thread to that comment. Especially useful on mobile devices that frequently reload pages (e.g. after switching apps or tabs.)
  • Fake Trump: Twitter user @realDonaldTrump is, sadly, the real deal. Twitter user @realDenaldTrump (with an 'e') is fake. Try to check for the verified checkmark before you post, but you're in good company if you miss it.
  • Real Trump: @realDonaldTrump is maintained by both Trump and his staff. Trump tends to post from his Android phone, while his staff tends to post from iPhones (this is visible in some Twitter clients). @realrealdonaldt retweets the posts that come from an Android.

Things generally frowned upon

  • Re-litigating the primaries: For the sake of everyone's sanity, reopening the Clinton vs. Sanders discussion from the primaries (or the third-party spoiler discussion from 2000) is generally frowned upon. There are thousands of old comments in past threads on this subject that you can read if you simply must revisit this issue.
  • Re-litigating the 2000 election: Third-party candidates are receiving more attention this year than in the last few election cycles. While it is relevant to discuss their performance on the campaign trail, it is strongly discouraged to invoke the topic of Ralph Nader and those who voted for him in 2000. Arguments over the ethics of third-party voting are especially unwelcome and likely to lead to nuked derails. As above, there are numerous old threads to choose from if you are nostalgic about this topic.
  • Posting duplicate links: To check if a link has already been posted, use the site's search box to search for the url you are about to post.
  • Unmarked fake quotations: Posting things in quotation marks that are not actual quotes unless tagged [fake].
  • Editing for content: Unlike many Internet forums, MetaFilter norms do not allow for comments to be edited for significant content changes; as noted in the edit box, the five-minute edit window is for small fixes and typos only. In fast-moving threads such as the Election 2016 series of megathreads, editing for content often leads to confusion as different users are seeing and responding to different content. For this reason, mods often delete otherwise acceptable comments due to abuse of the edit function.


Comfort Foods

A giant bowl of guacamole helped soothe Superplin, and by extension, all of us, during the DNC, and so many Mefites now look to the delicious dip during debates or other times of need. Many Mefites have also adopted the common Internet practice of consuming popcorn in an act of schadenfreude, or announcing their plans to procure such in anticipation of confusion or disarray among disliked politicians or pundits. Mefites have also invented a variety of alcoholic cocktails to enable them to survive the 2016 election season...


User corb is a #NeverTrump Republican Mefite who provided floor reports from the RNC. She is often invoked as a reminder that not all Republicans are Trumpsters and/or that there are Republican Mefites.


RLTP = "Relitigating the Primaries" DRTP = "Don't Relitigate the Primaries" (see above)

Egg McMuffin

Candidate Evan McMullin (him?) is so forgettable (we even forgot to include him in this wiki) that one might mix him up with an Egg McMuffin or Egg for short. This all has its roots in an Arrested Development joke about George Michael's girlfriend Ann (her?). The joke can be further extended, cockney rhyming slang style, by referencing the character Egg from George R. R. Martin's Dunk and Egg stories.


When you say "I can't even" so much that you run out of evens. Asides are often made to possible new sources of 'evens' and so on. Other quickly depleting resources may be similarly referenced, including 'fucks' and 'popcorn'.


During the DNC, there were several gavel-related mishaps. On day 1, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake forgot to bang the gavel. On another occasion, Rep. Marcia Fudge also forgot, and then couldn't find the gavel.


References to the Broadway musical Hamilton make frequent appearances in the election threads, much to the joy of some Mefites and the chagrin of others. Post titles are generally Hamilton lyrics, and references in comments range from lyrical fragments to election-themed filk. As a rule of thumb, if a comment you don't understand seems to have an unusual number of favorites, it's probably a Hamilton reference.

Feel lost? You don't have to get to New York and spend hundreds on tickets: you need not see Hamilton to enjoy Hamilton. The entire album can be streamed free on YouTube (the first song is over here), streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, or the streaming provider of your choice, and purchased for download wherever fine music is sold. The show is more-or-less sung through, and so the album contains (with a few small exceptions) the entire show. Further enhance your experience with the lyrics and the Genius annotations, which add context and insights to the text, and then use the various MeFi posts as a gateway to the many wonders the fandom has to offer. You'll be delighting and irritating your fellow Mefites by dropping references in no time!


The Intelligence Community. Short form for the "alphabet soup" of NSA, FBI, CIA, etc.


"It's OK If You're A Republican": The explanation for the double standard applied to Republican misbehavior such as infidelity.


The Justinian current panic level, the current level of panic felt by user Justinian. Other users may have their own JCPL status as well. "There is no calming the JCPL, there is only enduring it."


Jess Morales Rocketto. Hillary for America's digital organizing director is often the face of their social media outreach. Messages from the campaign are often signed "Jess".

Keyes Constant

(aka the Crazification Factor) In 2004 a carpetbagging Alan Keyes managed to get 27% of the vote in a Senate campaign against Barak Obama. This led to the theory that 27% of the population can be expected to vote in a completely insane fashion. "Half just have worldviews which lead them to disagree with what you consider rationality even though they arrive at their positions through rational means, and the other half are the core of the Crazification – either genuinely crazy; or so woefully misinformed about how the world works, the bases for their decision making is so flawed they may as well be crazy." The name was coined by Whet Moser.


Martin O'Malley. Actor Aidan Gillen played Tommy Carcetti in The Wire, a character that many was believed to be based on O'Malley. The same actor portrayed the scheming character Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish in Game of Thrones.


Often seen as a hashtag, #MAGA, "Make America Great Again" is the Trump campaign's 2016 slogan.


Following the plagiarism scandal at Melania Trump's RNC speech, the Trump campaign publicly blamed longtime staffer Meredith McIver. It was soon revealed that Trump also blamed McIver in a 2007 deposition for exaggerating his debt in several of his books, so as to make his subsequent success appear more impressive. Mefites have dubbed Meredith the official scapegoat of the campaign, choosing to believe that Trump shouts "Meredith!" whenever someone is needed to take the fall for something. Meredith can also be used to refer to a generic assistant or staffer in Trump's inner circle.


Some users have taken to tagging significant links with this searchable tag to assist whoever creates the next election post.

Performative despair

When bad news hits, whether in the form of a damaging allegation or disturbing polling results (especially as a result of changes in the notoriously swingy 538 Now-cast), it's easy to catastrophize the situation. This can quickly develop into commenters publicly expressing their despair, and its all too real negative effects on their emotional and physical well-being, in the thread.


Party of [Strom] Thurmond (and Trump) (i.e., the GOP.) Coined by user Excommunicated Cardinal.


Chris Christie. The beaten, emasculated former braggart turned servile by his abuser reminds some of the character from Game of Thrones.

Scott Adams

The rest of the nation is becoming increasingly aware that Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is a troll, but Mefites have known this for a while. See Scott Adams, plannedchaos for the backstory.


In August, Trump announced a council of 13 economic advisors containing no women, one academic economist, and six guys named Steve (or variations thereof). As such, "The Steves" may be used as a collective term for Trump advisors.

Taco Trucks

Marco Gutierrez, founder of the group Latinos for Trump, warned that we could have "taco trucks on every corner," as if that could somehow be a bad thing.

Tehhund (and others)

Some mefites, most famously user Tehhund, have been diligently working their way through older election threads from past months, leaving favorites behind which commenters can see on their "Favorited by others" page. At various times, users have left shoutouts to these users, encouraging them to persevere with the Sisyphean task of catching up (ironically, a task that is now that much harder thanks to the presence of the additional comments).

"The Writers"

The year 2016, and this election, are a scripted TV series, and an anonymous group of evil writers is responsible for its plot. The writers are often criticized for unbelievable plot points, one-note characters who show no signs of development, lazy writing, and unbearable levels of tension. Some users have speculated that 2016 may actually exist in a universe that was previously considered to be fictional, or a mashup of several fictional universes; candidates for this speculation have included the television shows Community and its Darkest Timeline, Arrested Development, and Black Mirror.

Trump's Mirror

Defined by user flug, named by user Devonian, and put in the shaving kit by user Joey Michaels, this heuristic can be summarized as "anything Trump says about an opponent is a reflection of himself." Trump's Mirror has its roots in an observation by The Art of the Deal ghostwriter Tony Schwartz:

Something I saw early on w/ Trump: most negative things he says about others are actually describing him. Read his tweets with that in mind
— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) July 27, 2016

Trump's Razor

Heuristic defined by Josh Marshall and named by Mefi's own John Scalzi: "ascertain the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts" and that answer is likely correct." Invoked when trying to understand the reasons behind incomprehensible behavior in the Trump campaign.

Trump's Shaving Kit

Contains Trump's Razor and Trump's Mirror, plus whatever else we want to try to shoehorn into the metaphor.

Trump's Theorem

Posited by user chris24: "For every tweet or statement, there is a past tweet refuting it."


Turn, Turn, Turn, Curse, Spit. (See Wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing)

Volunteers get favorites

People who post field reports from canvassing, phone banking, data entry, and other volunteering tasks get favorites.

Wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing

A reference to this scene from "Election Night," Season 4, Episode 7 of The West Wing. A (fictional) political superstition based on the thespian tradition of never uttering the name of the play Macbeth. You do not want to "tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing" by believing an election is over before it's over. Used in the thread when it appears someone may be prematurely celebrating or declaring victory. If you have done so, you must go outside, turn around three times, curse, and spit (TTTCS).

[real], [fake]

It's often tempting to put words in the mouths of public figures for the purpose of satire, comedy, or critique. Unfortunately, given the unbelievable things that actually come out of some of our public figures' mouths this election season, it is frequently impossible to tell the difference between such satire and reality (see also: Poe's Law). Accordingly, it has become customary to tag fake "quotes" as [fake]. Actual unbelievable quotes may be tagged as [real] to clarify that they are, unfortunately, a part of the world we live in in this, the year of 2016.


1. Election Protection
2. Ya Es Hora - ¡Ve Y Vota!
3. Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote Hotline
4. AAI Launches #YallaVote Hotline for Election