The Biden campaign is hiring a meme manager. Will it backfire?

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There are two universal truths about memes. One, a meme has passed its peak when corporations start using it. And two, political memes are very hard to pull off.

Democrats and Republicans alike have made attempts at internet humor that have ended up just being cringe. President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, which has built a somewhat robust internet presence so far, is trying to take that further. According to a recent job listing, the campaign is hiring a partner manager to handle “day-to-day operations in engaging the internet’s top content and meme pages.” The position comes with a salary of up to $85,000.

The job essentially entails recruiting content creators to make memes for the campaign, says Clarke Humphrey, the campaign’s senior adviser for digital persuasion.

“All we’re trying to do is give them information about what Joe Biden has done, and what his plan is for a second term,” Humphrey told Politico. The creators will then “take that information and figure out how it blends in with the other work that they’re doing.”

Biden has long embraced partnerships with content creators as part of his strategy to increase outreach to younger Americans. His administration has enlisted creators to boost his policy wins and disseminate information about foreign affairs. And his presidential campaign has leaned on social media influencers to help promote his platform.

To date, the most known meme associated with the campaign is still “Dark Brandon,” which Biden’s camp adopted after progressives successfully co-opted it from right-wing internet circles. A more recent viral meme, which spread organically and has often been used outside of a political context, arose from Vice President Kamala Harris’ captivating “You think you just fell out of a coconut tree?” line.

So mobilizing an army of creators to purposely make memes to win over voters is risky business, particularly when voters already seem pretty uninterested in the election — and both major candidates.

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