Republicans eat pizza with pepperoni slogan. They wrap holiday gifts in paper decorated with this courtesy of the National Republican Congressional Committee. One congresswoman even wrapped herself in it – she put on a red dress for the celebration with an inscription on the back.
Biden’s anti-presidential mantra, “Come Brandon,” has gone from being an inside joke by some Conservatives to a de facto unofficial GOP slogan, a way to insult the administration, express anger over her tenure, and signal media irritation – all in a language designed to cover up curses.
Many on the right see this as a clever way to persecute Biden – and find it immature and offensive to the left, a reaction that has only increased her appeal to many on the right. For the Republican Party, which can be capricious, it consolidates factions, expressing dislike for the leader of the opposite party, who is also the president.
Unlike most successful political slogans, this one requires a lot of explanation: it replaces the harsher “(swearing) Joe Biden” chant that is heard at sports venues and at rallies across the country. Aside from the vague echoes, the connection between the two phrases is not obvious, this is another part of its appeal.
In response, the White House, at least for now, is downplaying the slogan. “I don’t think he spends much time on it or thinks about it,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday when asked about Biden’s point of view.
But some Democrats warn that this is a mistake and urge their party to take it more seriously. They say that even if the slogan may sound childish, the passion behind it cannot be dismissed.
“They just don’t get it,” said David Jankovic, the Democratic strategist who led the digital strategy for Doug Jones’s successful 2017 Senate campaign in Alabama. “We cannot continue to ignore things. This is killing us. ”
Corporate America, for its part, takes note: Peloton is now removing the phrase when it is included in user profiles, claiming it violates the company’s “controversial” content policy. The origin of this phrase has to do with the NASCAR race, and the organization’s president, Steve Phelps, said he was “unhappy” with that.
The chant “Let’s Go Brandon” dates from an October 2 circuit interview that NBC Sports reporter had with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown after he won the race. The crowd chanted “F … Joe Biden”, but the reporter heard the chant “Let’s go, Brandon” and mistakenly said on the air that the crowd was showing their support for the driver.
Some conservatives jumped at the inconsistency, attributing the confusion to a conspiratorial motive without evidence and citing the brief exchange as an attempt by the media to hide its dislike of Biden. Greg Hughes, a spokesman for NBC Sports, declined to comment.
In the absence of a White House response, one independent liberal group formulated its own response. Founded by three brothers under 40, the media firm MeidasTouch developed the hashtag #thankyoubrandon to change the phrase.
“Politics is ultimately people,” said Ben Meiselas, one of the founders. “We want to find ways to tell people the facts. There are insults in the right echo chamber, and we have facts. ”
Earlier this month, he launched an online “Thank You Brandon” campaign, drawing attention to positive news for the Biden administration, including more than 530,000 jobs created in October, a skyrocketing stock market, and more than 220 million Americans who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. …
The phrase and its rougher cousin symbolize increasing antagonism towards Biden on the right and a weakening of one of his strengths during the presidential campaign – which, unlike stronger figures, few voters strongly disliked him.
Biden, despite divisions in the country, began his tenure with a small majority approving of his work, but that has changed dramatically. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, eighty percent of Republicans now strongly disapprove of how he does his job, and 45 percent of independents share this negative opinion.
This is hardly an unusual dynamic for a new president, as the initial grace period escalates into disgust, especially among the opposing side. Of course, Biden’s scores are still much higher among Democrats, although they too have dropped from 94 percent approving of his work in June to 80 percent today.
Republicans revel in expressing their disgust.
At a recent gala with black ties, Rep. Lauren Bobert from Colorado wore a red dress with “Let’s go Brandon” written on the back. The dress echoed the dress worn by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NY, at the recent Met Gala, emblazoned with the phrase “Taxes on the Rich.”
Bobert’s office did not respond to numerous requests for comment. But she posted on social media a photo of herself in this dress, along with former President Donald Trump, with the caption: “This is not a phrase, this is a movement!”
Sean Spicer, Trump’s first White House spokesman, also attended the gala and posted on his Instagram a photo of himself with Bobert showing off her dress. “The dress was the hit of the evening,” he said in an interview.
Spicer said that this phrase can have several meanings depending on the circumstances.
“It’s the sum of everything that’s happening,” Spicer said. “We are talking about the complicity of the media in supporting this administration. This is about Biden himself. It’s about the left, which is driven by everything that happens. It’s about a culture of cancellation. It’s about everything rolled into one. ”
Democrats have rejected attempts to portray the slogan as anything more than a mockery of teenagers, saying that its very emptiness reflects the state of the Republican Party.
In part, the appeal of many conservatives provokes the ire of liberals. In an email requesting a donation, Donald Trump Jr. offered a $ 45 T-shirt with the phrase as a way to “further energize” the left.
Others jumped at the playful side of the slogan. Phil Solorzano, owner of a Florida-based pizza chain, recently started making a pie labeled “FJB” in pepperoni. After photographs of the pizza became an Internet sensation, he added LGB pizza, saying that some clients were looking for a way to protest the president that could be safely posted on social media.
Rising pepperoni prices and labor shortages in his stores are fueling Solorzano’s dislike of Biden, he said. But he doesn’t mind making FDT pizza for those who want to talk about Trump, he said.
Timothy Naftali, professor of history at New York University, said the “Come on, Brandon” phenomenon is an unusual combination of humor and anger.
“It really creates a sense of kinship and being within the group. This is in line with the standards of composure in a particular political community, ”said Naftali, who was the founding director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. “There is both a hateful and a funny side to this. On the one hand, it’s mischievous. On the other hand, this is a cover for real hatred of Biden. ”
It also burst into pop culture, becoming the subject of several rap songs. One from Loza Alexander replays the original NBC clip multiple times and includes the line “Come on Brandon, but we all know what that saying means.” The song debuted at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was viewed 1.2 million times in its first week, according to Billboard.com.
According to some Democratic strategists, party leaders too often react to such events by imaginatively rolling their eyes and rejecting the issue as too unimportant to worry about.
Jankovic, a Democratic strategist, likened “Come on, Brandon” to how the phrase “a basket of villains” was used by the right as a rallying cry after Hillary Clinton used it to describe some Trump supporters.
Meiselas, a lawyer representing former NFL player Colin Kapernik, said his group is trying to fight back by devising viral ways to advance the Biden administration, such as coining the term “Psaki Bomb” to refer to Psaki’s provocative denunciation. questions from journalists.
The growing recognition of “Let’s Go Brandon” by the GOP establishment is reflected in fundraising efforts by the National Republican Committee of Congress, the party body that coordinates the House races. NRCC offers three Let’s Go Brandon gift wrapping for $ 25.
“Hurry up, get your wrapping paper before we sell out,” the committee says in its keynote, offering a way to get the political message right under the Christmas tree.
The phrase may also offer Republicans a more socially acceptable way to show dislike for Biden, said Neil Newhouse, a Republican sociologist. Even in 2020, he said, voters often hid their support for Trump, because open support for him led to social ostracism.
“It could be a way to share your support for Trump, your dislike for Joe Biden, and not wear it on your sleeve,” Newhouse said.
Some Republicans said the slogan’s spread was little different from many of the aggressive protests of the left during the Trump years. Among them were demonstrators with hostile slogans, obscene graffiti aimed at Trump, and even a comedian posing with a mask covered in red paint designed to depict Trump’s severed head.
Trump, reflecting on “Come, Brandon” at a recent gala at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, focused on the accusation that it arose from an insidious media attempt to defend Biden.
“I still don’t understand if this young attractive female reporter was trying to cover her mouth or was she behaving well?” Trump said. “Didn’t she understand what was going on? She works for NBC, so she’s about 94 percent sure she knew exactly what she was doing. ”
But Trump has expressed some ambivalence about the line, saying that he prefers the rougher version that includes swearing.
“For some reason I still like the first phrase better,” Trump said. “More accurate.”