Analysis | Dark Brandon, the new Joe Biden?

Analysis | Dark Brandon, the new Joe Biden?

Originally created by a conservative anti-Biden fringe, the Dark Brandon meme was recovered by the Democrats, to their advantage.

With his eyes shooting lasers against a dark, almost dystopian background, Joe Biden looks like a superhero. Buoyed by recent legislative successes, “Dark Brandon” has become a viral meme that Democrats have actually snatched from Republicans.

To understand the genesis of this symbol, we must go back to October 2021, when an NBC Sports journalist, Kelli Stavast, did an interview with Brandon Brown, winner of the Sparks 300 race in the NASCAR category at the Talladega track in Florida. .

Among the crowd were Donald Trump worshipers from the MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement who were shouting Fuck Joe Biden, an unequivocal insult to the American president, but which, for acoustic or other reasons, was interpreted by the journalist as being Let's go Brandon, encouragement for the NASCAR driver.

Let's go Brandon has become a rallying cry for pro-Trump troops.

The Let's go Brandon formulathen went viral among Trumpist troops, who used it on social media as a rallying cry. Merchandise of all kinds followed: jerseys, stickers, banners to put up in front of the houses of pro-Trump sympathizers… Everything happened.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott used the phrase “Let's go Brandon” to attack Joe Biden's record head-on.

During the traditional monitoring of Santa's path by NORAD in December 2021, one of the parents of children who managed to get a short live phone conversation with Joe Biden ended his call with a Merry Christmas and let's go Brandon. Tit for tat, the president replied: Let's go Brandon, I agree.

The tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thus became aware of the murderous phrase and decided a few months later to use it ironically during the White House correspondents' dinner. Republicans seem to support a guy named Brandon. He's having a really good year, I'm pretty happy for him.

The Democrats tried hard to get Brandon back with their Thank you Brandon! to highlight the accomplishments of the Biden administration a few months ago, without much success.

The #DarkMAGA movement appeals to a bolder and more right-wing campaign for a possible third presidential campaign for Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, MAGAs of all stripes took to the hashtag #DarkMAGA pleading for an even bolder, more uninhibited (if that's possible) Donald Trump to launch his 2024 presidential campaign. click #DarkBrandon, Republicans used this image of a Biden against a dark and dramatic, almost demonic background, to emphasize a perceived senility and lack of skill.

For some, this image of an evil Biden originated in May 2021, in drawings by artist Yang Quan, which depicted him as a warlord with eyes of fire. Cartoons used at the time as anti-Biden Chinese propaganda.

Democrats cheered up by House legislative accomplishments- Blanche appropriated Dark Brandon.

But the internet being what it is, Biden supporters eventually found a way to deflect the insults and reclaim the meme for their leader's benefit. Thus was born their “Dark Brandon” for a super powerful, manly, assertive Biden.

It must be said that the series of Democratic accomplishments and successes in Congress also gave them wings and released their inspiration.

The passage of the proposed Inflation Reduction Act – which contained pro-environmental measures – the creation of the bipartisan CHIPS Act, which offers incentives to companies that manufacture semiconductors on American soil, the assassination of the leader of al-Qaeda by the CIA, the unemployment rate at its lowest level for 50 years and the price of a gallon of gasoline that has fallen below the $4 threshold…

So many victories which restore a little the coat of arms of the Democrats two months before the mid-term elections of November 8. Biden, the evil villain, has thus become the multidimensional ruler of the political spectrum, according to progressives using Dark Brandon.

Some Democratic supporters have unbridled Darth Brandon-themed inspiration

That this meme is accommodated in all sauces by creative supporters gives it importance up to a point. Just do a search on Twitter with the hashtag #darkbrandon to get an idea of ​​the creative flights of some. The Dark Brandon Rises, in reference to Batman, The malarkey [bullshit] will end, one of Biden's favorite words, the inspiration is unbridled.

But another milestone was reached when politicians and White House insiders formalized Dark Brandon in their social media posts.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy used it, as did Andrew Bates, the White House Deputy Press Secretary, who wrote: Dark Brandon crushed it (Dark Brandon passed with a bang).

White House Staff Secretary Neera Tanden chimed in: Lasers coming out of Joe Biden's eyes represent the official stance of Biden. administration, adding a little later that she was only joking.

Finally, Rob Flaherty, the director of digital strategy for the White House, also used the image with eyes shooting lasers.

More official Democratic voices like Andrew Bates, the White House deputy press secretary, are tweeting versions of Dark Brandon to justify the White House's legislative successes

Apparently , Joe Biden, who is not particularly prolific on social media (a decision to stand out from his predecessor), is aware of this #darkbrandon and would be amused by it.

Of course, Republicans are far from finding this meme funny. According to Politico, one of the spokespersons for the Republican National Committee, Emma Vaughn, was talking about salvaging Chinese propaganda to celebrate tax hikes during the recession and doling out billions of dollars for electric vehicles whose bits and pieces are built in China. Everything is in everything, some will say…

The dark red backdrop of Joe Biden's speech last week has been interpreted by pro-Trump conservatives as being linked to extreme rhetoric.

Joe Biden's fiery speech against Trump's extreme supporters, these famous MAGAs, have deeply outraged conservatives of all stripes. Denouncing the divisive tone, but also speaking of extreme partisanship on the part of the Democrat, these Republicans even went into a spin against the dark red lighting on a dark background to see Nazi symbols and extremist rhetoric.

The fact of having recovered this Dark Brandon, initially created by the more extremist conservative current, is in any case rather rare in Internet culture. Transforming it ironically to serve more progressive values ​​is interesting in more ways than one. But the risk that some associate it with an extreme right-wing ideology at the base can give the impression of a mixture of genres.

Dark Brandon is a meme created by anti-Biden conservatives that was co-opted by Democrats

< p class="e-p">The fact remains that, still in this Internet culture, when a meme is used by more official voices, purists are already talking about the death of the meme, because it loses its bite.

A bit like when your parents and grandparents created profiles on Facebook, which made the social network enter the mainstream, or mainstream, as we say in English. Will Dark Brandon survive until the midterm elections for the Democrats to use for their purposes? Nothing is less sure. One day at the top on social networks, but perhaps swept away the next day by another ephemeral formula…

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