It’s the iconic image that instantly went viral in January — Sen. Bernie Sanders seated at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, wearing a light blue surgical mask, with his legs crossed and his hands crossed on his knees, sporting boldly patterned mittens that once seen, could never be forgotten.
Sure enough, “Bernie Mittens” topped the list of searches for internet memes in 2021, according to data just published by Google Trends. Vermont led the way on searches for the Bernie meme, followed by North Dakota, Montana, Maine and New Hampshire.
The pose Sanders struck that day on the inauguration stage also led to an appearance on Seth Meyers, a tribute by Darn Tough socks and a re-launch by Vermont Teddy Bear of the mittens originally created by elementary school teacher Jen Ellis.
“Everybody who wants these mittens, will get them,” Ellis said in February. “And they will have my seal of approval.”
But it didn’t end there. Outright Vermont raised nearly $20,000 from a pair of the mittens donated by Ellis. There was a snow sculpture in Winooski. And the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum sold scads of Bernie bobbleheads, creating five versions that went on to sell nearly 30,000 copies, making it the second best-selling bobblehead in the museum’s history, behind the Dr. Anthony Fauci Bobblehead. The success of Sanders’ bobblehead led to a $10,000 donation to Meals on Wheels Vermont.
In case you were wondering, the remaining memes in the top 5 searches for 2021…