On Friday, September 16, I posted on Donald Trump’s ‘basket of deplorables’.

Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for coining a marvellous phrase designed to denigrate millions of Americans. Instead, it became a joyous campaign cry.

The top image — in that post (as well as my About page) with appropriate credit — belongs to an artist who goes by the name of Keln. He adapted a Les Misérables image (at left).

Trump’s campaign team even used it as the backdrop for his rally on Friday, September 17 in Miami, complete with the song from the musical:

The image is now all over the world.

But what about Keln? Is he making any money off it? Can he copyright it and collect royalties?

Last Friday, on his site Nuking Politics, he wrote about what happened after he posted the image on Reddit. They banned him. (Maybe he should have posted on The_Donald subreddit rather than a general news one?)

Reddit mods didn’t even respond to his request for a reason why.

So, while the image was tweeted and posted on other social media all over the world, Keln was anathema to Reddit.

That is, until just hours before Trump’s Miami rally:

Reddit reinstated my account. Claimed I had been picked off by the spam filter. Uhuh…suuuure.

The Daily Mail carried Keln’s story on September 17:

He was pleased the Trump campaign used his artwork.

‘Thank you @realDonaldTrump for using my meme to stick it to Hillary and her ilk. #MAGA We are just gonna keep winning,’ he tweeted.

‘I made it, I am glad He used it,’ he added, insisting the Trump campaign had a right to turn his work into a campaign backdrop.

Less gratifying is that a tee shirt company is using Keln’s image without permission. Keln told his readers:

They did not ask for nor received my permission.

Let’s hope he can get that sorted out soon. He should be able to make some money off his intellectual property.

Moral of the story: protect your work! What seems like a small creation can turn into something ‘yuge’, as the Donald would say.

Speaking of whom, in Miami, he greeted his supporters:

Welcome to all you deplorables!

They responded with roaring applause.

Ex-Democrats at the Crawdad Hole point out that Trump has played this well (emphases mine):

Mic drop! Seriously! Turning negative campaigning/memes into a battlecry, amazing! This really is brilliant. Any other repub candidate would have had a weak spine by now and let her win.


Hillary played an own goal here:

Not to mention he is actually paying attention to those that support him. Deplorable was met with laughter. T-shirts, mugs, pins user names. We have weeks to go. My prog friends don’t even dare debate. She has become a joke. That is never good …

This campaign will redefine politics for the foreseeable future.

Donald Trump has rewritten the playbook.

You can read more about Keln’s artwork and Trump’s rally at The Conservative Treehouse, where the image made its debut. He is a frequent commenter there.