Opinion: Who’s Brandon?



A sign reading “Let’s go Brandon” is displayed on the railing in the first half of an NCAA college football game between Boston College and Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Critics of President Joe Biden have come up with the cryptic new phrase to insult the Democratic president. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of The Knight Crier are not necessarily reflective of the views of the entire staff of the KC.

“Let’s Go Brandon,” a phrase I couldn’t help but spot cheaply printed on sweatshirts, towels, and blankets adorned with a patriotic display of stars and stripes being sold at a flea market I attended this weekend. Acting as a similitude to my observations these past few days, The Trump organization is vending out these shirts, presumably of the same quality, advertising the slogan for every $45 donation the operation receives. Obvious to my first glance, whoever this Brandon was has successively found himself subject to a new conservative dog whistle, and perhaps unknowingly. However, under what pretense was this bizarre expression coined, and why is its intrinsic meaning being shielded by a name irrelevant to this subliminal messaging? 

This “Brandon” in question doesn’t exist, or he doesn’t exist in the way that would be thought of. The origins trace back to a video of NASCAR driver Brandon Brown being interviewed by NBC reporter Kelli Stavast, after winning his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race. In the background of the report, the crowd can be heard aimlessly chanting “F**k Joe Biden,” where as Stavast misinterprets their tirade as cheers yelling “Let’s Go Brandon.” Henceforth, the phrase has been used as a euphemism coined by conservatives as a replacement for their hatred of President Biden.

Brandon Brown, this new character found in the epicenter of divided American discourse, has recently spoken out against his newfound form of fame. In an Op-Ed released to Newsweek on December 20th, Brown made it exceedingly clear that he just wants to race.

“With this meme going viral, I had to stay more silent, because everybody wanted it to go on the political side. I’m about the racing side,” Brown wrote. 

“I race cars. I am not going to endorse anyone, and I am certainly not going to tell anyone how to vote,” he mentioned further.

The phrase spread like wildfire among conservative social circles and continues to be used in place of the expletive towards the President of the United States, even among members of Congress like Republican Representative Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, sporting a “Let’s Go Brandon” face mask. Representative Bill Posey of Florida, another Republican of Congress, ended one of his speeches on the House Floor about frustrations with the President’s administration and agenda with a quick shout of the expression followed by an eager fist pump. It’s to no surprise that another form of this banal humor continues to empower carbon copied Republican politicians like those aforementioned.

With the shares and adaptability of the phrase combined with continued bolstering through alternative right-wing media figures and even members of the United States Congress, it’s to no surprise the phrase is already being printed on a cotton sweatshirt. “Let’s Go Brandon,” deriving into a two minute song, can even be streamed on ITunes and Spotify, with columns of such being produced by reactionary artists making a swift profit off of the slogan. It’s unbannable and prone to find itself shouted in public settings in ways usually cursing out a president can not.

Hence why the now infamous slogan can even be seen infiltrating public comment opportunities at North Penn board meetings, like those held on October 21st, only 19 days after the inception of the meme.

The hidden connotations under the phrase, when its explicit connotations are called into question, signifies the redundancy around the shield of “Brandon.” Why not those belonging to a party that exclaims freedom of speech at every given opportunity swear at Joe Biden the same way those who cursed Donald Trump with the utilization of the popular “FDT” acronym years prior?

When linguistic attributes of the chant are analyzed, the application of the word “Brandon” in the phrase signifies a hlonipha, or avoidance speech, resembling substitutions of forbidden words. Even phrases deriving from this term, among those aside from “Let’s Go Brandon,” are constructed so casually because the explicit or hidden subjects underlying these types of slogans can not be proven definitively, strengthening their popularity. 

My curiosity now branches to the confusion I felt this past weekend, yet now for differing reasons. It really makes me wonder, though, as to why a party that promotes their close knit familial values aids in the coining of a phrase like “Let’s Go Brandon.” Nothing stimulates traditionalism like expletives and name-calling.