Ziad Ahmed cares.
At least, that’s what he’s trying to convince you of with every fiber of his being in a recent video he posted to TikTok, the Chinese spyware program and social media app.
I’m seeing way too many of my peers proudly claim that they won’t be voting for Biden in November, so I made this TikTok in response.
— Ziad Ahmed (@ziadtheactivist) April 11, 2020
Ziad chastises his fellow campus progressives for not choosing to bend the knee to Joe Biden, mere days after Bernie Sanders terminated his anti-climactic bid for the presidency of the United States.
In and of itself, his is not an uncommon position. Much of the Democratic establishment, from its mouthpieces on MSNBC to its ‘wonks’ at the Center for American Progress, have been making the same argument. What’s unusual about Ziad is the unique fervor with which he, a young Bernie Sanders supporter, is demanding his brothers and sisters in arms fall in line.
Unusual, until you realize that ‘Ziad the Activist’ as he dubs himself on Twitter, isn’t any ordinary DSA bro or campus radical. He’s a super-engineered avatar of corporate progressivism that would make even Mayor Pete blush.
Ziad’s claim to fame was an essay he wrote while seeking admission to Stanford University. Knowing, like any young striver, that the purpose of these essays is to demonstrate piety to woke shibboleths, Ziad perfected the art form and simply wrote ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ 100 times in a row and shipped off the application.
He was admitted soon after.
Ziad’s credentials in the rat race of elite credentialism didn’t begin with his pithy essay. He wrote no similar essay for Yale, the school he eventually attended. No, his preparation to enter American corporate royalty began early, when he founded the non-profit Redefy, a website with wonderfully circular tagline ‘It’s time to rebel for something worth rebelling for.’ Ziad created this organization at the tender age of 14 when he, in the words of none other than President Obama, founded ‘a website to push back against harmful stereotypes by encouraging teens like him’.
What harmful stereotypes Ziad experienced are unclear. It’s doubtful that he experienced much adversity at his childhood Princeton Day School, with its tuition of $38,360 per year. Nor did he likely experience the dangers of some of his home state of New Jersey’s most destitute slums, given his father’s status as the former top quant at financial institutions like Citibank and Morgan Stanley. A book detailing the computer science wizards of Wall Street even said his father’s salary ‘vastly exceeded the take-home pay of top executives in the firm, including the CEO.’
Regardless, Ziad’s bold activism with Redefy earned him the distinction of being the youngest attendee at one of President Obama’s Iftar dinners, a Muslim religious celebration that would see the apex of America’s Muslim elite rubbing elbows with the president.
Ziad the Activist would go on to be involved in the 2016 presidential election as well, bringing his discerning eye and passion for progressive change to…the Martin O’Malley campaign. He ended up volunteering for the Hillary Clinton campaign as well, but his first love was for the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, a favorite of the Vox intelligentsia and corporate progressives everywhere.
As the 2020 presidential campaign ramped up, Ziad calculated that the ascendant Sanders campaign would be his home, and so he dutifully turned his Twitter activism towards supporting the erstwhile candidate. But it wasn’t a comfortable fit because, as one of Ziad’s peers described, ‘Ultimately, Ziad believes that it is possible for profit and purpose to align, and that his particular skill set is best suited to working “in the system”’. The description seems to fit the mold of a Pete Buttigieg or Elizabeth Warren, or perhaps a ‘progressive who can get things done’ like his former candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Untethered from his commitment to ideological leftism, Ziad appears to have returned to his comfort zone, demanding identitarian fealty from his peers while perched atop his pile of money from consulting with Fortune 500 companies on how to appeal to Gen-Z. He promptly tweeted his endorsement for Joe Biden after Bernie dropped out and even demanded that he name Stacey Abrams as his VP candidate. In her, Ziad must see a kindred spirit: a nakedly ambitious empty vessel for amorphous ‘change’ that can rack up millions in speaking fees handing out modern indulgences to the likes of Michael Bloomberg.
Like Abrams and the entire Democratic establishment, Ziad understands how critical it is for their project to take back the White House. That is why they insist that the young, broke, and now politically homeless Sanders supporters fall in line. After all, corporate progressivism’s holy trinity of government power, vast wealth, and cultural cachet is crippled without those elite dinners at the White House that Ziad developed a taste for all of those years ago. It is, after all, simply unacceptable that the likes of a humble pillow merchant like Mike Lindell sully the White House lawn when there so much more deserving, caring, and progressive icons like Ziad who could be there in his place, promising to ‘rebel for something worth rebelling for’.