With political polarization at a fever pitch, it sometimes feels like there’s no middle ground between Democrats and Republicans. And things are only getting worse, if this latest scandal is any indication — after Senator Bernie Sanders offhandedly mentioned that he doesn’t like anchovies, America’s conservatives have taken it upon themselves to eat pounds and pounds of the small, salty fish to prove him wrong.

The drama arose from an incident Sunday afternoon when, during a press junket about the midterm elections, an aid offered Sanders a slice of anchovy pizza and the Senator turned it down. “I actually don’t like anchovies,” Sanders reportedly told the aid. Blowback from the GOP has been quick and unequivocal.

“Rude Bernie Sanders hates America’s favorite tasty fish,” tweeted President Donald Trump later that day. “Someone should tell Bernie — and his fake news friends at MSNBC and literally every other news outlet — that America LOVES anchovies. I’ve eaten two-hundred separate anchovies just this past week. We won’t stand for his coastal elite LIES about our delicious salty snack!!”

Others on the right went even further, especially after alt-right Twitter personality Mike Cernovich posted a selfie, his cheeks filled to bursting with half-chewed anchovies and a thin layer of oil smeared across his face. The caption — “#anchovychallenge” — has since become a viral sensation, with everyone from Donald Trump Jr. to Ann Coulter posting pictures of themselves gorging on mound after mound of the slimy, greasy little fish. President Trump, for his part, posted a picture of himself on twitter captioned “Anchovy Nation,” in which he was eating what was pretty clearly a sautéed flounder on a bed of finely seasoned risotto. 

“This is what a Real American looks like!,” screamed a beet-red Sean Hannity, naked and submerged to his neck in a claw-footed bathtub overflowing with uncooked anchovies, in the most recent episode of Hannity. “Caravans of migrant thugs are at our gates, antifa terrorists are knocking down our doors, and yet Bernie has the gall to act like anchovies aren’t a personal gift from God to his favorite country on Earth?” 

At press time, the Republican Party had just unanimously voted to add a plank to its national platform pledging to destroy anchovies’ natural environment through decades of corporate deregulation and political stonewalling.

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