By Jack Morse
Joe Biden has an SEO problem.
The former vice president and current Democratic primary competitor hoping to become the party nominee has an official campaign website where he asks for donations and touts his various legislative accomplishments. There’s just one problem: that website has, for some time now, been eclipsed by a troll website lightly masquerading as a pro-Biden page.
So reports the New York Times, which notes that “the most popular Joseph R. Biden Jr. website” over the course of “much of the last three months” has been https://joebiden.info, as opposed to the official https://joebiden.com.
And what, exactly, is on joebiden.info? That would be a series of viewed-as-problematic photos (like the one above) and details about Biden’s legislative history that the candidate presumably might want potential voters to forget all about.
The site highlights Biden’s vote for the invasion of Iraq, his complicated legislative history on reproductive rights, and his recently in the news position on school busing.
According to the Times, the parody Biden site was created by 30-year-old Republican Patrick Mauldin. Mauldin, the paper notes, runs a Republican political consulting firm.
“This site is political commentary and parody of Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign website,” reads a small notice in light gray text at the bottom of the site. “This is not Joe Biden’s actual website.”
A snapshot of the site from March available on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine displays a similar, but not identical, version of the above disclaimer: “This site is political commentary and parody of Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign website.”
In other words, Mauldin, who has done work for the Trump re-election campaign, wasn’t exactly trying to hide the parody nature of the site — that is, assuming any of his site’s visitors thought to check the disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Which, and let’s be real here, many likely did not. Though, it bears noting, even a passing glance at the webpage would reveal that it’s not exactly pro-Joe. It literally embeds Daily Show videos mocking the guy, and sells t-shirts depicting the former vice president as a touchy creep.
Essentially, joebiden.info comes across less as a Russia-style disinformation campaign and more an example of the internet doing what the internet does best: mocking people.
We think Joe Biden will be just fine. Probably.