“Let’s Go Brandon!” It’s a phrase that’s bandied about constantly by Texas Republicans. Ken Paxton has been closing out his press conferences with the phrase. Greg Abbott’s campaign is selling wrapping paper with the phrase. And Ted Cruz posed for a photo at the Astros game with someone holding an all-caps “Let’s Go Brandon” sign.
So, who is this “Brandon” exactly? For starters, the phrase is really a code meant to denigrate President Joe Biden. Bear with us as we explain yet another Republican culture war.
There actually is a Brandon. His name is Brandon Brown and he’s a professional race car driver. Earlier this month, he won his first major event in Talladega at a NASCAR Xfinity Series race. During a post-race interview, chants of “Fuck Joe Biden” could be heard. The sideline reporter who was interviewing Brandon then said the crowd was actually chanting “Let’s Go, Brandon.” And from there, a particularly crude meme for conservatives was born.
Almost immediately Republicans latched on to the phrase, and now you can’t go anywhere without seeing or hearing it. There are multiple “Let’s go Brandon” tracks on the iTunes top 100. On a rightwing podcast, Ted Cruz called the phrase “one of the funniest things” he’s ever encountered. To be fair, Cruz is infamously not funny.
Republicans are constantly complaining that the mainstream media ignores them, so it’s no surprise that they’ve embraced a phrase that makes them feel like everyone is in on their uncouth joke. However, it is troubling that this newfound love for a phrase coincides at a time when more and more Republicans really doubt that Joe Biden won the presidency in 2020.
Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court attempting to toss out the electoral votes of four swing states. He spoke before the Insurrection, just as Ted Cruz was objecting to the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes. And recently, Paxton agreed that Biden was only president because of an “overthrow.”
It’s easy to roll your eyes at Republicans and their strange cultural obsessions. But remember, behind every gleeful Republican proclaiming “Let’s Go Brandon,” is a sinister belief that the 2020 election was not legitimate. And that should make us all worried.