Though the actual 45th President of the United States claimed, “God looked down and he said, ‘We're not going to let it rain on your speech,’” we know the truth, and since that gray, rainy afternoon in January came to pass, many of us have looked to memes and satire for comfort. It was disheartening that, while many of us adored and found relief in Melissa McCarthy’s shrill-voiced impersonation of press secretary Sean Spicer, a Trump donor told Politico, “Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak.” It's just one of many comments creeping around in the corners of our minds, with other pest-like news updates in Trump’s America.
If self-care accounts, like @aloebud, @tinycarebot, and @hydratebot aren’t bringing enough wholesomeness to your Twitter feed, you should be following the Alt-POTUS 45 account, @IfHillaryHad. Created by Sarah Lerner, a 29-year-old living in Los Angeles who along with a friend runs a feminist-themed podcast, Hellbent, @IfHillaryHad is a consistent source of satire, or perhaps, #AlternativeFacts, that may bring a smile to your face. Lerner took a break from thinking of #BillErrands and jabs at Trump to tweet over at @IfHillaryHad to answer some questions about inauguration night, the Women’s March, and @AltNatParkSer.
Were you always a Hillary supporter, or did you want Bernie before?
Always a Hillary supporter — I voted for her in 2008 and leaned heavily toward her in 2016. She wasn't a shoe-in for my vote, however, and I did consider Bernie thoroughly. Ultimately, I found Clinton to be the most qualified and prepared person for the job.
What were you doing on election night? Following along? Making a drinking game? Crying?
Oh man, election night was something I'll never forget. I woke up really confident and happy about the prospect of our country's first female President, and by the end of the night, there was a lot of shock/numbness and tears. I remember tweeting, while election results were still coming in, 'We're literally in the midst of finding out if our country hates the idea of a female President so much that we elect a hateful idiot instead.' It was absolutely soul-crushing to see the dream die that night.
Have you been to any marches or protests since Donald Trump's win or inauguration?
Yes! I went to the Women's March in LA. I'm planning to go to a bunch of scheduled ones like the Science March, Pride, etc., as well as attend impromptu ones (e.g. airport protests on the #MuslimBan).
Do think Hillary should have been at the Women's March?
I honestly think that whatever Hillary decided to do that day, that she would've gotten shit for it. If she comes to the Women's March, then she's making the protest all about her. If she doesn't come, then she's betraying the feminist movement. Seriously, Hillary Clinton can never win. And I was incredibly disappointed to see that march co-chair Linda Sarsour blatantly left her name off the list of revolutionary women we honored, especially since Clinton's 'women's rights are human rights' quote appeared unattributed elsewhere on the Women's March website. But ultimately, it was an incredible feat and a truly wonderful/beautiful march. The ladies who organized it did a fantastic job pulling it off.
When did you start @IfHillaryHad? Why?
It started initially from the concept of 'What if Hillary had been doing all the crazy stuff Trump & his team is doing during the presidential transition?' Example: Not divesting from his businesses. We all know the answer: She'd be fucking investigated/impeached in a heartbeat. But then when Trump's presidency started, I pivoted to, 'What would life be like in an #AlternativeFacts-based reality where Clinton is President?' It honestly was an act of self-care and trying to tap into what 'normalcy' feels like because mere days into Trump's administration, my head was already spinning from all the absurd & harmful shit Trump was doing. Obviously, the account is a super satirical one and weaves in seemingly realistic behavior from a President Hillary Clinton (reading policy briefs) to straight up hyperbolic caricatures (e.g. telling Putin to 'fuck off' daily and sending Bill to do errands for her all the time). Ultimately, I hope that it can provide people (myself included) with some much-needed comic relief and sanity checks in these dark times. We're going need all the positive energy we can muster to resist Trump's agenda.
How do you come up with the things you think she would be doing?
It's honestly me spitballing/bullshitting from the news of the day and the latest ridiculous actions that Trump and his team make. I hope to provide a clear dichotomy between Trump's harmful incompetency and Clinton's experience/dignity (would she ever be tweeting at 4AM about how her inauguration crowd was the best ever? No.), while also creating a bit of an over-the-top satirical character for Clinton. I like imagining a world where Hillary can just completely let her guard down and just put lesser men in their place (e.g.telling Jason Chaffetz, obsessive investigator, to fuck off). It's meant to be completely absurd, and yet, oddly grounding/soothing amidst this chaotic time.
Were you inspired by any other favorite Twitter pages?
The pivot in my concept was inspired by all the Alt-government accounts that were popping up in the midst of Trump censoring science and facts.
I notice @ifHillaryhad only follows three accounts — Emergency Kittens and both of Donald Trump's accounts. Why is that?
She's keeping tabs on Trump, but also needs a lot of self-care to do so, hence the Emergency Kittens follow, which is a nod to Clinton's quote about cat memes during the campaign.
What do you hope to accomplish with @IfHillaryHad? Anything?
Honestly, I just hope that it can be a silly space for people who are scared and worried about the Trump administration. If he lasts four years, then opposing him is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. I've been calling my reps everyday, visiting their field offices, and generally trying to stay as informed & armed with information as possible. It's really mentally draining, and we need to be able to re-charge in ways that equip us to keep fighting. I'm hoping that the small bits of comic relief that people get from @IfHillaryHad can contribute to that.
What kinds of reactions do you get from people who see/follow the account?
People either love it or hate it; there's no in-between. As of this interview, I've accumulated about 14,000 followers in a week, which is a pretty rapid increase in that brief period of time. The people who get what it's about and don't take it too seriously seem to come to this general consensus: This is the most entertaining, yet simultaneously depressing account ever, but I am here for it. The trolls I get are most likely people who were pro-Trump and/or super anti-Hillary anyway, so I don't expect them to dig it. The only thing that's been tough is the nastiness in those responses: I don't mind people saying, 'This isn't my cup of tea.' What's awful, however, are tweets that say 'Kill yourself' or some variation of that. Just another reminder of the ugly underbelly of Twitter, and I do my best to minimize my interactions with those folks. Otherwise, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and awesome.
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