In the meme wars, President Joe Biden has proved an elusive target for right-wingers and Trump cultists; Biden’s limp centrism just doesn’t fuel the reactionary fire.
Trump’s crowd is still, somehow, running on the fumes of their burning hatred for Hillary Clinton, while the flaccid phrase, “Let’s Go Brandon,” was the best they could come up with for Biden, a polite euphemism for an F-bomb that no one was stopping them from vocalizing.
Under President Biden, Americans have witnessed the fall of Roe vs Wade, along with a dramatic escalation in rhetorical attacks against the LGBT community – it’s almost as though the Trump administration never ended.
But to right-wing culture warriors, reality doesn’t matter in the slightest – they need a panto villain, and they have tried their hardest to paint President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as a pair of bloodthirsty communists dedicated to destroying MAGA-country; the only ones who paid attention were sheltered suburbanites, and extremely online leftists, who decided to embrace the caricature as a joke.
Hence, the rise of “Dark Brandon” memes, which co-opt the hilariously hyper-masculine aesthetic of 2016 Trump memes, which depicted the former President as a hulking warrior, an all-American hero, a laser-eyed behemoth who would John Wick his way through the White House, leaving behind nothing but blood, bones and swamp water.
For Trump supporters, it didn’t matter that their hero was elderly, overweight, hopelessly addicted to tabloid gossip and hairspray – the memes were posted ironically and in earnest, until all the irony had simmered away.
“Dark Brandon” memes were designed to satirize Biden’s spineless centrism, and celebrate the occasional victory by the administration – the contrast between the intense aesthetic and the underwhelming reality was what made them so funny. That is, until liberal Biden-supporters began to take them seriously.
Recently, Biden has enjoyed a bit of a popularity boost, as gas prices continue to decline, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected an anti-abortion ballot, Biden’s administration actually made some action against climate change, and the FBI raided Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, and even cracked open his safe.
In an ironic echo of Trump memes, liberals are now earnestly posting “Dark Brandon” memes, which seems to be driving right-wingers mad.
This video, created by Twitter user @SocDoneLeft, is a great edit that effectively summarizes the “Dark Brandon” meme, and has spread far beyond its initial reach.
The meme has become so mainstream that multiple Democratic officials have posted related “Dark Brandon” meme on their official accounts, such as Connecticut senator Chris Murphy and Rob Flaherty, White House director of digital strategy.
Some might be laughing at the fact that “Dark Brandon” is being used sincerely, but this is the natural evolution of the meme cycle, as irony morphs into sincerity, and vice-versa.
Indeed, many of the internet’s most iconic memes were spawned in the incel echo chamber of 4Chan, reposted mockingly, then exploding as popular meme templates (for example, the Virgin vs. Chad memes).
Right-wingers have been creating so many outlandish memes for so long, purely for the purpose of “triggering” their ideological opponents, it’s nice to see liberals finally have a bit of fun.
Victories are scarce nowadays – might as well embrace them when they appear.
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