As the increasing divide between the two major political parties in the USA widens and becomes increasingly hostile, an interesting meme has caught on among Republicans. The song ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ has become the new way for those who vehemently oppose the current president to show their opposition to him in the form of a minced oath. But what is the full story behind this intriguing cultural phenomenon, and what does it mean?
How Does This Story Begin?
For those who may have seen or heard this chant on or offline and are puzzled by what it means, you are not alone. The long story short is that the chant is known as a minced oath for those who strongly disagree with the current president and, in reality, is meant as an encrypted way of saying “fuck Joe Biden” without being too obvious. It began as recently as September 2021 in the stands of various college football teams, where the actual chant of “fuck Joe Biden” could be heard resonating through the audience. It began to spread to other sporting events and even to a Megadeth concert. There are a variety of reasons why some Americans are dissatisfied with the presidency of Joe Biden, from general dissatisfaction to more specific complaints, such as the vaccine mandates. But how did this overt hatred change from an unmistakable chant to the more esoteric chant of ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’?
It was the beginning of October 2021, when the racing driver Brandon Brown was being interviewed following his spectacular victory at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks 300 race. While NBC sports were conducting his interview, the crowd began to increase the original chant, which was becoming more audible as the interview progressed. For reasons only known to the reporter at the time, Kelli Stavast, she made it clear that she thought the crowd was actually chanting ‘Let’s go, Brandon!’ From that point on, the clip went viral, and thus, a meme was born that looks set to stick in the cultural me escape for the foreseeable future.
Why Have People Adapted This Chant?
The hatred of Joe Biden and pretty much everything that he stands for is so visceral that it has the potential to split the country in ways similar to how his predecessor did (more on that later). While some people have no compunction about using profanity to express their hate, others have found that the chant of ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ captures something far more poignant that can otherwise be represented using simple vulgarities. It also helps that as a meme; it can go viral without the censorship that surrounds the use of profanity. As you can see from the numerous forms of merchandise that have arisen, including this glenn beck t-shirt, Let’s Go Brandon Shirt, this chant has made a more significant impact than its actual meaning ever could. Since its inception into the meme hall of fame, it seems that it has caught on. This specific chant can now be heard nationwide, used without reservation, and even in family settings where its precursor may have been deemed inappropriate.
After being encouraged and promoted by various right-wing political commentators, such as Ben Shapiro and Tomi Lahren on Twitter and even by Bradon Brown himself, the meme has begun to take off in ways that nobody could have predicted! In essence, it is catchy, can be used almost anywhere without causing ire, and captures the deep-rooted resentment that many citizens feel about the direction their nation is taking.
Is ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ Here To Stay?
It is difficult to say because even though memes come and go, they never really leave the zeitgeist. Furthermore, social media companies who are hesitant to rock the boat too much after the shock banning of Donald Trump from Twitter and Facebook seem to be happy in allowing it to proliferate. The hashtag has remained unchanged and is currently trending upwards with no end in sight. In fact, to add more fuel to the fire, Republican politicians such as Ted Cruz and Representative Lauren Boebert have actively promoted its use multiple times (it should be noted that both of these politicians were actively engaged in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.). It is therefore likely that the chant has not yet reached its peak and that it will continue for some time to be used as an opportunity to vent frustrations by those opposed to the Biden administration and all it stands for.
Why Do People Hate Joe?
To date, an aggregation of several polls shows that Joe Biden has a disapproval rate of over 52%, which is higher than his predecessors had been at the same point of his presidency and only surpassed by another Democratic president, Bill Clinton. However, the dissatisfaction, to put it lightly, of the current administration seems to be widespread and even is beginning to show among some of the more conservative Democratic supporters. One reason that could be posited for this apparent rejection could stem from the perception that he was the only way to get rid of a Republican presidency. If, however, people vote against incumbents that they dislike more than the one they vote for, rather than their policies, then approval ratings are bound to fall rapidly once reality sets in.
Another possible explanation for the apparent speed of resentment against Biden could be because a precedent was set when Democratic supporters spent so much time and effort trying to stymie Trump administration policies. The current hate directed towards Biden could be seen (among many other things) as reap what you sow kind of attitude. For instance, during all of the previous administration’s time in charge, the opposition was so opposed to everything that he proposed that it looked as though Trump was constantly under attack. In many cases, these attacks were personal and not aimed at policy (a new precedent even for the turbulent politics of the US). Therefore, many Republican supporters now see it as a kind of retribution. The use of the slogan ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ has been adopted as a fascinating way to get this anger across without being censored.
From its origins as an expletive-laden, angry chant to its current form as a more family-friendly meme, ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ is an excellent example of the current hostility towards the incumbent president.