It doesn’t seem like there’s a ton that Americans can agree on in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, but there is one near-universal political truth: Vice President Joe Biden makes for a pretty good meme. Heck, we rounded up 50 of the best ones right here at Inverse. But, in January, Biden is going to be replaced by Republican Mike Pence, and his dank meme prospects aren’t looking so hot.
A cursory search for “Mike Pence Memes” doesn’t lead to an abundant stash of LOLs like those his predecessor inspired. Part of that, of course, is that Pence isn’t even vice president yet. America’s dutiful meme-smiths have had eight years to get to know Biden, while Pence is a relative newcomer on the national stage. Most of the hits for memes about the governor of Indiana have to do with his role as the Roadrunner to Biden’s Coyote in the current crop of memes. Know Your Meme catalogs a few flash in the pan memes from smaller incidents throughout the campaign, like Pence’s “that Mexican thing” line from the VP debate and the original, pornographic Trump/Pence logo.
Those memes, along with a handful of others, are mostly at Pence’s expense (though there are a handful of rare Pence Pepes) Biden memes are coming from a place of love, mostly, but the true beauty of them is their crossover appeal. The Biden from memes is a bit of a loveable dope, and right-leaning people can find humor in the characterization as well. Pence, though, is smarmy and humorless at best. Also, his biggest policy stances are a barely disguised hatred of LGBT people, an open endorsement of horrific conversion “therapy,” and regressive stances on women’s rights. It’s not exactly LOL-worthy stuff.
That’s not to say that people aren’t trying. George Glatz, 30, created the Facebook page Mike Pence Memes to help even the score. Glatz, who supervises a cleaning and maintenance company in Massachusetts, told Inverse that he “adores” Biden memes. “They are what inspired the Mike Pence memes,” he explained via Facebook message.
“When I Googled ‘Mike Pence memes,’ there was nothing, literally nothing except attacks against his character,” Glatz said. “I just thought that it was going to happen eventually. Why not start Mike Pence Memes now?”
The memes are, well, not the greatest. Points to Glatz for trying, but his characterization of Pence as a crazy person is a little all over the map and lacks in specificity. It feels a bit forced, whereas Biden’s Diamond Joe persona was years in the making. The page, as of Wednesday night, only has six likes.
Glatz, who says he supports Trump but disagrees with him on a lot of issues (especially LGBT rights), told Inverse that there was another reason why he was making Pence memes.
“Before, say, six months or so ago when the Joe Biden memes first started popping up, I knew nothing about him as VP,” he wrote, explaining that the memes prompted him to do some research about the vice president and his policies. “So, part of the Pence memes is in good fun, but part of it is in hopes that people actually try to learn about him and his policies,” Glatz said.
Glatz’s intentions — some LOLs and maybe a little education — are good, but it seems highly unlikely that Mike Pence Memes is going to become the destination for dank Pence meme content. As plenty of brands have demonstrated, trying to force a meme rarely works.
If Pence becomes a meme-worthy figure in his own right (which, frankly, seems doubtful given the political climate and many of his downright horrifying, bigoted policies), it’s probably going to be something totally different from the Biden meme format. There’s only one Diamond Joe, after all.