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Dirtbag Left is a slang expression used to describe a style of left-wing politics that was popularized on the internet after the 2016 United States Presidential Election. The term "dirtbag" refers to politically incorrect speech and vulgar language that is often deployed by such leftists, a move that is at odds with traditional liberal sensibilities of social civility. Dirtbag leftists are known to support anti-fascist policies and wealth redistribution, with several prominent figures in the movement rallying behind the 2016 and 2023 Presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders. The podcast Chapo Trap House is most closely associated with the movement due to their use of comedy and irony in the style of a shock jokey, and due to their criticism of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Other media outlets and individuals associated with the dirtbag left are TrueAnon, Red Scare, Cum Town, Hasan Piker and Vaush.
Chapo Trap House co-host Amber A'Lee Frost is generally understood to have coined the term "dirtbag left" and presented the earliest known exploration of the movement in her 2016 article "The Necessity of Political Vulgarity," published in Current Affairs on August 25th, 2016. Various publications published counter-arguments to the "dirtbag left" mythos in late 2016, including Rebecca Traister for The Cut on November 23rd, 2016 (seen below, left). Chapo host Virgil Texas posted a response to the article on November 29th, 2016 (seen below, right).
The term "dirtbag left" continued to gain prominence through the end of 2016. As seen in the aforementioned articles, early discussions and criticisms of the dirtbag left revolved around their dismissiveness of identity politics and their criticism of the DNC, an exclusionary characterization that members of the movement resisted On November 27th, 2016, the subreddit /r/DirtbagLeft was created.
In early 2017, various Twitter users posted tweets parodying liberal critics of their movement. Twitter user @jonny_is_good posted a tweet on January 16th, 2017, gathering over 1,000 likes (seen below, left). Twitter user @Trillburne posted a tweet using the phrase on January 17th, gathering over 1,400 likes (seen below, right).
On June 19th, 2017, Redditor /u/anotherthr0waway2222 posted to /r/relationships detailing her troubles with her boyfriend, an avid Chapo listener. The post has since been deleted but can be accessed via reupload by Twitter user @yungneocon.
— The Cosmist Insurrection, Inc. ™ (@yungneocon) June 20, 2017
Critics of dirtbag leftists often compare the movement with right-wing extremists. Conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong who tweets under the username @stillgray posted a tweet comparing dirtbag leftists to Richard Spencer on July 20th, 2017, gathering over 500 likes in six years (seen below, left). On November 30th, Twitter user @AlexandraErin posted a tweet saying the dirtbag leftists have a right-wing edge lord "vibe," gathering over 600 likes in five years (seen below, right).
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