who won the debate meme wars, Biden or Trump?

by Admin
who won the debate meme wars, Biden or Trump?

Winning a presidential debate is one thing, but coming out victorious in the meme wars is something else.

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump understand how important it is to go viral. According to NBC News, Biden’s campaign headquarters enlisted 18 influencers with a combined following of 8 million to post about the event, amounting to a “post-debate social media clip sharing battle”.

Both contenders delivered soundbites. During Trump’s presidency, “everything was rockin’ good”, according to him. Biden hit back at Trump’s felony convictions, saying the former president “has the morals of an alleycat”.

Though Biden’s voice grew stronger as the debate went on – a low bar, considering how weak he sounded at the start – it was impossible for viewers to ignore, especially as concerns about his age are a constant source of stress for Democrats this election.

“I’ve watched a lot of Biden talks. I’ve never heard him sound this frail,” Vox correspondent Zack Beauchamp wrote on X. “Someone has to pull a fire alarm and help Biden out here,” writer Bhaskar Sunkara added, referencing Jamaal Bowman’s infamous congressional incident.

X users wondered: did the president need a cough drop? An energy drink – maybe Panera’s infamous charged lemonade? What about the “secret sauce” he posted a photo holding shortly before the debate, a canned water containing, according to the label, “zero malarky”? (Actual cans later hit the Biden campaign’s official store, costing $4.60 each.)

On social media, people were obsessed with performance-enhancing drugs – and how it appeared that Biden needed to take some. “The Adderall shortage is tearing this country apart and it has finally hit Biden,” read one tweet. “They accidentally injected Biden with ketamine instead of adrenaline,” another wrote. Some fantasized about feeding Biden Adderall through the TV screen.

According to CBS chief White House reporter Nancy Cordes, a “source close familiar to the president’s debate prep” confirmed he’s been “battling a cold” in the past few days.

Despite CNN’s rule of turning off the candidates’ mics to deter petty arguments, Trump was able to get in one diss during a moderated rebuttal: “I don’t know what he’s talking about and I’m sure he doesn’t even know what he’s talking about.”

The empty-eyed, uncomfortable stare Biden kept for much of the debate got parodied online, with some saying he looked like he kept seeing ghosts, or like a dog does when it’s been caught misbehaving.

Neither candidate faced rigorous, or even cursory, factchecking from the debate moderators, CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper. Trump spoke of “post-birth abortions”. No pushback after that. Ditto when Trump blamed Nancy Pelosi for turning down a chance to deploy the national guard on January 6. And no one spoke up when Trump called Biden a “Palestinian” as if it were a slur.

While speaking on immigration, Trump said that migrants were “taking away” “Black jobs” and “Hispanic jobs”. On X, users wondered what, exactly, he meant, spurring jokes and memes about searching for “Black jobs” on LinkedIn or writing a resume for a “Black job”.

Biden’s official campaign TikTok account posted through the debate. Their strategy: have staffers, or friendly influencers, make videos praising his performance. In one clip, a young man shares a moment where Biden called Trump a “sucker” and a “loser”. “Biden just slammed Trump,” he claims – a bold statement, considering Biden’s overall shaky performance. People in the comments weren’t buying the TikTok, though. “Did we just watch the same debate?” one asked.

Watching the two candidates bicker proved exhausting, depressing, and downright terrifying. It felt as if the entire nation – or at least people who care about debates –was sitting in front of their TV screens, preparing for the worst. One meme of Simpsons character Ralph Wiggums sitting on a bus, chuckling to himself while saying “I’m in danger” struck a chord. “All of the US right now,” read a caption to the photo posted on X.

Post-debate pundits suggested that Biden performed so terribly, he should be replaced by a new candidate. Social media users echoed the sentiment, and many agreed when the rapper Ja Rule, of all people, tweeted: “This can’t be our only choice of candidates… WTF.”

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