A photo of politician John Fetterman leaning against a railing.

John Fetterman

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Updated Nov 10, 2023 at 06:11PM EST by Zach.

Added May 19, 2023 at 01:15PM EDT by Aidan Walker.

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About

John Fetterman (born August 15, 1969) is an American politician and the current Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. He won the 2023 Senate midterm election in Pennsylvania. During the race, he received significant attention in the press for his unconventional style and appeal to voters. Fetterman's unconventional style for a politician (hoodies and gym shorts), as well as his size, have made him the subject of many memes online, particularly in 2023.

Career

Fetterman began his political career as the mayor of the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2019. He first settled in Braddock five years prior, in 2001, as an Americorps volunteer following his graduation from Harvard with a Master's in Public Policy. Braddock was a majority-Black community devastated by the closure of factories and rampant crime. Fetterman attempted to turn the town around with a mixture of urban renewal programs and proactive measures to curb gun violence and attract investment. His tenure was characterized by frequent clashes with the city council of Braddock.[1]

Fetterman ran for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in 2016 and came in third. In 2018, he then ran for Lieutenant Governor and won. Fetterman refuses the label of "progressive," but does support progressive positions, such as Medicare for All and marijuana legalization.


Jeff Stein @JStein_WaPo W/ all the Fetterman talk, asked his team about their policy agenda. They cited: - Promote US manufacturing "making more s--- in America" - Pro Act - $15/hr min wage - Better trade deals - Universal broadband - Legal weed - Voting rights - Codify Roe - Ramping up US energy 1:00 PM May 18, 2023. Twitter Web App :

In 2023, he ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania and, despite being hospitalized with a stroke on election night, won every county in the state, surprising the national Democratic Party and garnering much media attention. As of May 2023, Fetterman plans to run in the general election in November 2023 and, if elected, will serve in the U.S. Senate.


Ernest Owens @MrErnestOwens PA Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator John Fetterman really wasn't playing when he said "every county, every vote." He literally got the most votes out of all of his opponents in EVERY county. Pittsburgh Philadelphia LEADER 12:04 AM. May 18, 2023 Twitter Web App . Fetterman : John Fetterman @JohnFetterman I just got out of a procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator in my heart. We got the all-clear that it was successful, and that I'm on track for a full recovery. Thank yinz for the well-wishes - it means the world to me. Now back to resting + recovering! 6:40 PM - May 17, 2023 from Moon, PA Twitter for iPhone : John Fetterman @JohnFetterman PA-THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING ME AS YOUR DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR U.S. SENATE IN PENNSYLVANIA!!!!!!!! I'm *so* deeply honored. MY Thank You PA! 8:57 PM May 17, 2023. Twitter Web App . :

Online Presence

Fetterman has been highly memed on account of his physical appearance and overall demeanor. He is 6-feet 8-inches tall, and almost never wears a suit and tie, instead typically choosing to dress in hoodies and shorts.


... Clare Cons @macrotargeting Why does Fetterman, the largest of the candidates, not simply eat the other two? 4:39 PM - May 17, 2023 Twitter for iPhone . 491 Retweets 62 Quote Tweets 9,146 Likes ryan cooper @ryanlcooper lefties cut Fetterman some slack because he has a good vibe, but they also do it because he brutally crushed the party establishment's handpicked future pharma lobbyist 9:16 AM May 18, 2023 TweetDeck • :


Following his victory in the primary election in May 2023, many pundits and others online speculated that Fetterman's vibe and brand were the future of Democratic politics.[2]

Arrival On TikTok

On August 18th, 2023, Fetterman joined TikTok and announced his arrival on the platform through the video seen below. Within two days, the video received almost 54,000 likes and Fetterman received almost 54,000 followers.

@johnfetterman

hi tiktokkers 👋

♬ original sound – John Fetterman


Fetterman was promptly welcomed to the platform by Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ).


Cory Booker Welcome to TikTok!! Will be even more excited to welcome you to the Senate next year. 1d ago Reply John Fetterman 1d ago Reply Creator 2878 541

Dr. Oz Twitter Beef

Fetterman's 2023 Senate race against GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz distinguished itself as a highly online race featuring aggressive and meme-heavy social media posting by both candidates. The race's meme-filled character has attracted attention from national journalists.[4] On July 20th, 2023, Dr. Oz posted a meme (seen below, left) accusing Fetterman of cozying up to Senator Bernie Sanders, receiving almost 2,000 likes in nine days.[5] Fetterman replied (seen below, right) to the original tweet 15 minutes after it was posted with a graphic design is my passion meme, presumably mocking Dr. Oz's meme-making skills and receiving almost 50,000 likes while accomplishing a ratio. [6]


BEST. FRIENDS graphic design is my passion.

Most of the memes by the candidates revolve around two consistent trends. Oz accuses Fetterman of spending not enough time on the campaign trail as he recovers from his stroke, and Fetterman accuses Oz of not really being from Pennsylvania.

On July 21st, 2023, Dr. Oz posted a meme (shown below, left) photoshopping Fetterman into a poster for the TV show Lost in an attempt to make the point that Fetterman had not appeared much on the campaign trail. The meme received just over 1,000 likes over the next few days.[7] Fetterman's reply (shown below, right) which showed that he had set the Dr. Oz meme as his Twitter cover image, received over 18,000 likes in the same timeframe, as well as achieving another ratio.[8]


LOST JOHN FETTERMAN: EITHER HE'S HIDING IN HIS BASEMENT, OR HE'S JUST PLAIN LOST. PAID FOR BY DOCTOR OZ FOR SENATE John Fetterman @JohnFetterman Edit profile Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. Candidate, United States Senate 2023. Running to be that 51st Vote.

On July 22nd, 2023, Oz posted a Little Miss Meme mocking Fetterman for not leaving his basement. Fetterman's quote-tweet of that meme, with a picture of him at a campaign event, received almost 25,000 likes over the next few days. The original Oz meme received just over 300 likes in the same time period,[9] with Fetterman again ratioing Dr. Oz.


John Fetterman lol nice try @JohnFetterman . Jul 22 Lt. Gov. John Fetterman speaks to a crowd of more than 100 supporters in Montgomery County on July 21, 2023. ALT EVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer Dr. Mehmet Oz @DrOz. Jul 22 @JohnFetterman MR. NEVER LEAVES HIS BASEMENT 419 1,587 24.8K

Fetterman's campaign posted frequently mocking Dr. Oz for his New Jersey roots leading up to the election, alleging that he is not a real Pennsylvanian. A quote-tweet from July 15th, 2023, accused Oz of acting like a tourist during a campaign visit to a cheesesteak shop in Philadelphia. It received over 181,000 likes in the course of two weeks.[10]


John Fetterman @JohnFetterman · Jul 15 Ah yes, the trip to Pats + Geno's -- a rite of passage for every tourist. Dr. Mehmet Oz @DrOz Jul 15 South Philly is ready for a Dose of Reality! Biden's record-breaking inflation is making it harder for businesses like both Pat's and Geno's to stay afloat. A world without cheesesteaks? That's just crazy! that #mentor #Thelleart Attack 5,523 NOV ASH NLY 21K NO'S EAKS GENO'S STEAKS GENO'S STEAKS 181.3K INEYARD VINES STEAKS GENO'S AKS GENO STEAK GENO'S STEAKS

Fetterman's trolling of Oz has continued, with the candidate using a viral Girl Explaining meme to criticize Oz for owning many houses and misleading voters about his wealth. The August 18th meme received over 113,000 likes in less than two days.[11]


John Fetterman @JohnFetterman · Aug 18 US Senate candidate, PA SO BASICALLY I OWN TEN PROPERTIES BUT "LEGITIMATELY" ONLY TWO HOMES. A HOME IS JUST ANYTHING IN NEW JERSEY, WHERE I LIVE... MY MANSION IN FLORIDA IS JUST A VACATION HOME, SO THAT DOESN'T COUNT, AND THE ONE IN MAINE IS TECHNICALLY UNDER MY WIFES NAME SO IT'S NOT LEGITIMATELY MINE ALT 2,089 10.8K RU 113K :

Crudité and Vegetables

In mid-August 2023, John Fetterman's opponent in the Pennsylvania Senate race, Mehmet Oz, posted a video of himself buying the ingredients for a "crudité" of raw vegetables at a grocery store and complaining about the price increases. On August 15th, 2023. Fetterman then quote-tweeted the video, mocking it and receiving over 73,000 likes in 10 days.[13]


Others joined in shortly after, and crudité was covered on national news networks, gaining more attention than many other aspects of the campaign. Numerous Twitter users joked about the video in the following days, such as @ElijahCone, who made a tier meme (seen below) on August 20th, 2023, which received just under a thousand likes in five days.[14]


S A B C D F Dr Oz Crudite video tier list ASPARAGUS THE FIT NO CART OR BASKET OZ GENERALLY WEGNERS NON-BABY CARROTS BROCCOLI READS PRICE OF DIFF PRODUCT FOR SALSA DIPOVEG COMBO MAKES NO SENSE BAD GUAC CHOICE "THE TEQUILA!"

In response to the criticism, Dr. Oz shot back with a comment about Fetterman, vegetables and the stroke he suffered. Fetterman wrote a tweet on August 23rd, 2023, reacting to the controversial comment and pinned it to his profile where it received almost a quarter of a million likes in two days.[15]


Pinned Tweet John Fetterman @JohnFetterman Aug 23 US Senate candidate, PA I had a stroke. I survived it. I'm truly so grateful to still be here today. I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could *never* imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges. HOME > POLITICS Oz campaign on Fetterman: If he had 'ever eaten a vegetable in his life,' he wouldn't have 'had a stroke' ALT 10.5K 133.1K 241.3K

Dr. Oz Poop Tweet

Another viral moment during the campaign took place after old tweets of Mehmet Oz about poop linking to his website (originally published to his account during his days as a celebrity TV doctor) took on a new resonance when paired with links to what had since become his campaign website. On August 20th, 2023, Fetterman quote-tweeted an Oz post originally from 2013 with a comment about the way in which the poop posts appeared.[16]


John Fetterman @JohnFetterman Aug 20 US Senate candidate, PA When I say we need to make more sh*t in America, this is *not* what I mean Dr. Mehmet Oz @DrOz What does your "poop" say about your health? Learn here: PUT AMERICA FIRST US Senate candidate, PA DoctorOz.com DONATE TODAY! 1,672 doctoroz.com Dr. Oz for Senate . OZ 1:24 PM 4/10/13 Hootsuite ALT5 Retweets 191 Quote Tweets 762 Likes 7,174 60.1K >>

Fetterman's May 2023 Stroke

On Friday, May 13th, 2023, Fetterman suffered a stroke. He initially avoided sharing details about his health and took a three-month break from the campaign trail. At this point, much of the campaign's energy went into social media, and the candidate's inability to go on the trail due to his recovery needs may have been a factor behind the meme-focused strategy.[22]

As Election Day neared, Fetterman shared medical records showing that he had no impaired cognitive function. However, his opponent, Dr. Oz, and others continued to raise questions about Fetterman's health. Reportedly, Fetterman had clear problems with auditory processing, which required him to use closed captioning in order to understand what was said to him (a symptom many stroke victims have because the brain needs to relearn how to use language following a stroke).

Fetterman's auditory processing issues were especially apparent during his only debate with Oz, which was televised on October 25th, 2023.[23] During the debate, Fetterman in particular struggled to answer a question about whether or not he supported fracking, giving several contradictory answers. The footage was reuploaded to a YouTube video posted by Oz on October 27th, which earned 83,000 views in two weeks (seen below).[24]



Some, particularly his opponents on the right, heard Fetterman's speech difficulties as evidence of cognitive impairment, and a narrative that he did not have full mental functioning took hold. For example, Twitter user @mirandadevine tweeted (seen below, left) on November 9th that Fetterman was "cognitively challenged," gaining almost 8,000 likes in a day.[25] On the left, many saw Fetterman's win as inspiring for Americans with disabilities, such as user @atrupar, who got over 5,200 likes for tweeting appreciatively on November 9th (seen below, right).[26]


Miranda Devine @mirandadevine Unreal: Fetterman wins in PA. So Dems have forged a new political model: hiding a cognitively challenged candidate in the basement. 7:00 AM Nov 9, 2023 Twitter for iPhone 1,594 Retweets 166 Quote Tweets 7,947 Likes ... Aaron Rupar @atrupar ... I feel good for John Fetterman. The stroke he went through was obviously a terrible thing and I can't imagine how hard it was to do stump speeches/debate after that. Sadly medical events like that are a fact of life and he provided an inspiring example of overcoming. 5:43 PM Nov 9, 2023 Twitter Web App 420 Retweets 19 Quote Tweets 5,286 Likes

Further, many on the left criticized media coverage from NBC and Politico, which focused on Fetterman's speech difficulties as lacking in empathy and being sensationalist.[27]

Fetterman's 2023 Senate Election Win

On November 8th, 2023, John Fetterman won his race against Dr. Mehmet Oz 50.8 percent to 46.8 percent.[17] Follwoing his win, he became the Senator-elect from Pennsylvania, with his seat meaning that Democrats had a much higher chance of retaining control of the Senate.

Reactions to Fetterman's win varied widely. Some credited his victory to his campaign's skill at making fun of his opponent and creating memes. For example, Twitter user @LeviFetterman, a joke account for Fetterman's dog, tweeted "memes r the way" on November 10th, earning just over 300 likes in less than 24 hours (seen below, left).[19] Memes were notably a large part of Fetterman's strategy up until the last hours of the race when he posted a "Get Out The Vote" meme (seen below, right), earning almost 6,900 likes in two days.[18]


Levi (& Artie) Fetterman @LeviFetterman remember when they said we couldn't sh*t post our way to the senate memes. memes r the way. Will Stancil @whstancil Nov 9 People think of Oz as a laughable opponent - but in large part that's because FETTERMAN MADE HIM LAUGHABLE, right after the primary. Walker was, frankly, even more ridiculous, but Warnock wasn't aggressive in defining or attacking him, and ended up in a much closer race. Show this thread 4:55 AM Nov 10, 2023 Twitter for iPad 29 Retweets 324 Likes UMM YEAH, IF YOU COULD JUST GET OUT AND VOTE THAT'D BE GREAT.... Wome

Responses to Fetterman's victory ranged from joyful, particularly for Democrats, to less satisfied, primarily for Republicans. Much of the response centered around his body and size. On the left, some like Twitter user @PopulismUpdates shared photos of Fetterman walking around in gym shorts during a snowstorm, appreciating his size and earning almost 45,000 likes on November 9th.[20] On the right, many posted memes mocking Fetterman's physical appearance, including user @NarleyHarley93 (seen below, right), who received 20 likes in a day on November 9th for their tweet.[21]


Populism Updates @PopulismUpdates · Nov 9 John Fetterman will officially be the next US Senator from Pennsylvania, defeating Dr. Oz (NBC) NG other 239 W No Fatalities After Bridg Minor Injuries 1 2,398 proovill 44.9K @MIDNIGHTMITCH FETTERMAN N TEXT HEY YOU GUYS TO 30200 PAD FOR BY FETTERMAN FOR PA

Controversies

Pulling A Gun On A Black Jogger

Controversially, Fetterman chased an unarmed Black jogger with a loaded 20-gauge shotgun in 2013 after believing he heard gunshots in his neighborhood. Fetterman has not apologized for the incident and accusations of racism have followed him ever since.

The jogger he assaulted, Christopher Miyares, has since expressed support for Fetterman’s candidacy in letters written to local papers, and said that he understands why Fetterman has not apologized or admitted he pointed the gun at Miyares because “it could cause him more harm than good” and “…it is inhumane to believe one mistake should define a man’s life.”[3]

Lecia Michelle: Author & Anti-Racism Activist @LeciaMichelle11 The fact that Fetterman chased a Black man down the street with a gun and is still in the running further proves that too many wh.ite people don't care about Black lives. No matter what excuse you give about him, you're protecting white supremacy when you defend racists. 10:01 AM May 17, 2023 Twitter Web App : JulianⓇ @sixxis311 I'd feel even slightly better if John Fetterman would once look into a camera and say "the reason I can dress the way I dress and talk the way I talk and still be competitively running for statewide office is because I'm a white man." I don't see "real," I see privilege. 10:47 AM May 15, 2023 from Plum, PA Twitter for iPhone . :

Various Examples


Purchase price: $1 EAST Veggies for Fetterman! 4109 I'm afraid Dr. Oz is going to die ce in Salsa. GOVERN MIKKE VOGT MOLESEVICH Erica VOTE VO A STATE REPRESE 75TH DISTR MIKE MOLESEVICH PA 15th Congressionalistrict For Congress and the Constitution RICA VOGT Erica VOTE VO STATE REPRESE 75TH DISTRIC ! MIKE MOLESEVICH *PA 15th Congressional District For Congress and the Constitution Erica VOTE VOO MI EVIC ESTRICT Dripped out Politicians @PoliticDrip Lt. Governor John Fetterman (D-PA) ERMAN 10:28 PM . May 17, 2023. Twitter for iPhone FETTER :

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – John Fetterman

[2] Politico – Why Dems Ought to Take a Cue from the GOP and Get Angry

[3] Philadelphia Inquirer – Everything to know about the 2013 John Fetterman jogger incident

[4] The Verge – John Fetterman and Dr. Oz trade memes in Twitter fight

[5] Twitter – Dr. Oz

[6] Twitter – John Fetterman

[7] Twitter – Dr. Oz

[8] Twitter – John Fetterman

[9] Twitter – Dr. Oz

[10] Twitter – John Fetterman

[11] Twitter – John Fetterman

[12] TikTok – johnfetterman

[13] Twitter – @JohnFetterman

[14] Twitter – @ElijahCone

[15] Twitter – @JohnFetterman

[16] Twitter – @JohnFetterman

[17] Associated Press – Elections

[18] Twitter – "@JohnFEtterman:https://twitter.com/JohnFetterman/status/1590108856340082688

[19] Twitter – @LeviFetterman

[20] Twitter – @PopulismUpdates

[21] Twitter -@NarleyHarley93

[22] Philadelphia Inquirer – John Fetterman had a stroke in May. Here’s what we know about his health.

[23] Politico – Fetterman Struggles During TV Debate

[24] YouTube – John Fetterman Fracking Response

[25] Twitter – @mirandadevine

[26] Twitter – @atrupar

[27] Vanity Fair – The Media Is Struggling To Cover John Fetterman's Recovery

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Top Comments

VeteranAdventureHobo
VeteranAdventureHobo

Say what you will about Fettermans policies, (I personally agree with them), Oz is absolutely awful at campaigning and trying to make him out to be bad. His only response to him are to claim he spends all his time in his basement, which is hilarious given he visited literally every county in the state, much more than Oz did, and that he's friends with Bernie. I find the Bernie thing hilarious because based on every single poll site, Bernie is the most popular senator in the US.

Oz hasn't even really stated what he's running on, as he seems to be mostly relying on riding his trump endorsement into the position and trying to portray Fetterman as awful.

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