‘Dark Brandon’ Rises, and Buoys Biden’s White House

Joe Biden is not accused of being Extremely Online.

As a candidate, he made it clear that he wasn’t particularly interested in social networking. In a dramatic change from the normal political way, his aides made clear that it was a communications team who crafted his tweets. His campaign was focused on winning local TV markets and not winning the morning with Twitter cognoscenti. “Morning Joe”Regulars on MSNBC

In an age of micro news cycles that come and go like puffs of wind — and running against an incumbent president who tweeted at all hours, about whatever seemed to cross his mind — Biden’s fuddy-duddy approach to the modern news media offered an implicit promise to voters: I’ll be the remedy to the way that Donald Trump lives rent-free in your heads.

During 2020’s Democratic presidential primary, Ryan Lizza was contacted by a Biden adviser, my former colleague at Politico, about how Biden’s extremely offline persona was actshually part and parcel of his winning strategy of appealing to what political operatives often refer to as “the normies.”

Those normal voters weren’t glued to their phones all day; they were doing “normal”American things include going to work, shopping, calling grandkids, and watching. “Wheel of Fortune”They are able to go about their lives without being influenced by the latest memes and chattering class obsessions.

“I get this question all the time: Why does the press hate him so much?”The aide told Lizza. “And the answer is because they are younger and they want someone cooler.”

First of all, let’s make one thing clear: The press does not “hate” Joe Biden. But this unidentified aide’s point was that, in lavishing attention on fresher candidates like Pete Buttigieg or more fashionable pols on the left like Bernie Sanders, elite reporters and cable talking heads were missing Biden’s genuine appeal to the older voters who make up the base of the Democratic Party — and who would end up lifting him to the nomination.

It was a chin-out expression of confidence in Biden’s political strategy at a time when the outcome of the primary was uncertain. It also betrayed the enduring. Rodney Dangerfield-esque feelings of resentment among his advisers that Biden don’t get no respect among media tastemakers and pundits.

“People who went through the primary and the general election with him learned to take this longer view of the vicissitudes of the political news cycle,”Anita Dunn is a senior White House adviser.

She added that, for all the criticism of the president’s age — he’ll be 79 in November — and the decades he’s spent in the Senate and as vice president, his years of experience in Washington had given him a “wisdom”It takes patience to learn the rhythms of Congress deal-making.

At times, the Biden team’s resentment of what it sees as the press and pundit class’s constant underestimation of his political instincts and abilities has burst into public view.

With midterm elections looming, here’s where President Biden stands.

One incident stands out from the primary. January 2020 Interview with the editorial board of the newspaper, Biden blurted out: “I ain’t dead and I’m not going to die!”

The New York Times editorial board, which is completely isolated from the news operation where I work, decided to endorse both Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar, rather than Biden. This was a Solomonic move that infuriated his staff.

The Biden campaign responded. Video releasedJacquelyn Brittany, the security guard who had escorted Biden up to the Times boardroom in time for his interview, was a fond memory of the giddy encounter they had. Brittany was able to return during the Democratic convention in order to nominate Biden. This is a story that his aides told. You can send your email in advance to The Washington Post.

Inside Biden’s campaign, his phrase — “I ain’t dead and I’m not going to die!” — became something of an internal mantra, an expression of the grit with which aides felt they approached an election in which they were never accorded the respect they were due.

It was so interesting to see White House officials embrace this concept. “Dark Brandon” — a palimpsest of an internet meme that has been painted over with almost impenetrable layers of online irony.

As I explain it briefly, please bear with me.

According to a series of memes Sites that track such things, has wended its way from sarcastic jokes about Biden’s supposed dementia to, now, a bear hug by the very team that still goes by the maxim “Twitter is not real life.”

It began in winter as a tongue in cheek appropriation. “Let’s Go Brandon” — a right-wing catchphrase that developed from a TV commentator’s mischaracterization of what the crowd at a NASCAR race was saying about Biden (hint: a rude insult) into an entire ecosystem of coy bumper stickers and T-shirts.

How Times reporters cover politics.
We rely on independent observers to observe our journalists. Times staff members are allowed to vote, but they are not permitted to endorse or campaign against candidates or political causes. This includes participation in rallies or marches in support of a movement, giving money to, raising money for, or supporting any political candidate.

The repackaging “Brandon”Soon, slogan combined with The “Dark MAGA”MemeThe phrase “” had become a popular online conservative expression and conveys that Trump and his most loyal followers are plotting a vengeful comeback.

High-stylized images of the president, often featuring a glowing glow or red laser beams from his eyes, often with stock Biden phrases such as “No malarkey,”It started appearing in meme factories such as 4Chan, an internet messaging board for rowdy people, or on Twitter.

Biden was at the time struggling to pass his agenda in Capitol Hill. As the president began to win legislative victories and favorable job numbers, Democratic Twitterati began to embrace the meme wholeheartedly and jettison the irony.

The White House joined the partyEarly this month, several aides tweeted Dark Brandon images following a spate of positive news for Biden.

Inside the White House, the towel-snapping Dark Brandon tweets were an expression of a changing mood after months and months of feeling besieged by coverage of Biden’s lousy poll numbers, his struggles to tame inflation and the predilection among Beltway insiders for prematurely declaring Biden’s political demise.

According to several people close to him, the president has seen some of these Dark Brandon memes and found them to be funny.

“The Dark Brandon memes are a light take on the fact that Biden actually has abilities and power that most elected officials don’t — and he yields it in his own way,” said Greg Schultz, who led Biden’s 2020 campaign through the Democratic primary and has occasionally been critical of the White House.

They also served to mock Extremely Online right, who are obsessed with concepts like “memetic warfare”This has indelibly shaped political conversation in this nation and elsewhere.

Most of all, the memes were a subtle reminder to the press that, collectively, it doesn’t always get Biden right — and that, in the view of his staff, the president is playing a long game that doesn’t always jibe with the frenetic rhythms of the internet news cycle.

During Tuesday’s signing ceremony for Inflation Reduction Act, the president agreed with these sentiments. The president spoke as Manchin sat behind him in the White House’s State Dining Room, hovering just a few feet from the ceremonial desk. “Joe, I never had a doubt.”

For now, much of this mood shift is just what Gen Z might call it. “vibes.”

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Biden’s poll numbers have gone upYes, but not much.

Tuesday’s election results in Alaska and Wyoming suggest that Donald Trump remains the most potent force in Republican politics, and that — as of today, at least — he would enter a hypothetical 2024 rematch against Biden with his party solidly behind him.

While inflation may have reached its peak but is still at or close to record highs, it remains difficult to predict how actual voters will respond to the changing narrative in Washington. With their arguments on cultural issues such as transgender rights and teaching of race in schools, Republicans could still win over large numbers of centrist voters.

Biden’s allies are painfully aware, too, of just how fickle the conversation around the president can be.

“I promise you,” Schultz said. “In six months, a lot of the media and D.C. elite will be complaining about Biden again.”

— Blake

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