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The expression "feel the burn" was originally popularized by actress Jane Fonda in a series of aerobic fitness tapes to encourage viewers to work through exercise fatigue. According to digital strategist Winnie Wong, a co-founder of the Bernie Sanders campaign group People For Bernie, the variation "Feel the Bern" was coined in a Facebook conversation brainstorming various pro-Sanders hashtags.
The earliest known tweet using the hashtag was posted by the People4Bernie Twitter feed on May 6th, 2015, featuring an infographic containing campaign donation figures for the Sanders campaign (shown below).
On May 27th, 2015, the domain feelthebern.org was registered. On July 1st, the slogan appeared on television during a large Sanders rally in Madison, Wisconsin. On July 4th, MSNBC published an article about the Sanders campaign's social media presence, noting that the #feelthebern hashtag received an average of 6,800 tweets-per-day from June 25th to July 1st. In August, the Sanders campaign began selling official merchandise featuring the slogan (shown below).
On August 9th, YouTuber Tony Tig uploaded a music video for a pro-Sander rap song titled "Feel the Bern" (shown below).
On November 11th, a "Feel the Bern" game was published on the browser gaming website Kongregate. In February 2016, the news site Observer published an interview with Wong about the slogan's origins.