The 2024 presidential election has the potential to be the most online election in American history, considering the current logged-on nature of the population and the Republican candidates.
Assuming that former President Donald Trump emerges unscathed from both the Republican primary process and the legal process to be the party’s nominee, expect a group called the Dilley Meme Team to have a role in the election.
While they might not emerge as prominent members of the cast of characters in this latest Trump reality show, know that Brenden Dilley and his cohorts aim to have a role in getting the former president to return to the Oval Office in Jan. 2025.
According to the Dilley Meme Team site, they claim that their “content generates millions and millions of views. Often shared by the man himself, and played at the rallies, we’ve been fighting fake narratives of the commies and fascists for years.”
On X, Dilley posted “The Dilley Meme Team = Trump’s Online War Machine” in the wake of Trump sharing one of their videos.
Who is Brenden Dilley?
The story starts with Dilley, billed on the Dilley Meme Team site as “warlord and master troll.” His bio on the site includes some resume talking points, including hosting a livestreaming political talk show called The Dilley Show, claiming to be “a raw, unfiltered & unapologetic political entertainment talk show aimed at supporting America while entertaining America.”
He’s also the author of Still Breathin’: The Wisdom and Teachings of a Perfectly Flawed Man, characterized as an “unconventional self-help book.”
He also made a congressional run in a special election in Arizona’s 8th District in 2018, gathering just 823 votes in the Republican primary, well short of the 27,047 from eventual general election winner Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.).
But Daily Dot readers might recognize him as something else: He’s been called, a “conspiracy theorist” who was banned from the social media platform then known as Twitter for “spreading misinformation in the aftermath of the El Paso mass shooting.”
Dilley has also been labeled “a prominent QAnon supporter,” the pro-Trump, right-wing conspiracy theory that claims pedophiles have invaded the Democratic party.
Dilley has since returned to Elon Musk’s X, where he posts as @WarlordDilley, occasionally sharing memes from his collaborators.
A pinned post on his account, from Nov. 25, 2023, shows what appears to be a picture of Trump talking to Dilley in a giant stadium full of fans, with Dilley dutifully saying, “Yes, Mr. President. The Dilley Meme Team has seen the video and will be shit posting it everywhere.”
"Yes, Mr. President. The Dilley Meme Team has seen the video and will be shit posting it everywhere." pic.twitter.com/HBv1G4ytX0— Brenden Dilley (@WarlordDilley) November 26, 2023
Who is the Dilley Meme Team?
The Dilley Meme Team site, as of December 2023, showed 28 different contributors to the team, identified by username aliases, with most using avatars in lieu of actual pictures. The team includes the likes of Mo and His Balls, neo 1984, and William-of-Ockham, the latter using imagery reminiscent of Alex from A Clockwork Orange, with an X bio declaring, “My pronouns are meme/maker.”
The Dilley Show site also features links to their social media accounts and calls the group “an extraordinary collective of creators, armed with an unrivaled sense of humor and a burning passion for engaging in the political discourse of our time. Every day, they take on the daunting task of challenging their opponents through the power of memes, humorously dissecting political ideologies and shedding light on the absurdities that surround us.”
What does the Dilley Meme Team create?
Essentially, the Dilley Meme Team is making online propaganda for Donald Trump in both still image and video form. Some of the content celebrates Trump and his accomplishments during his single term in office, and some unsurprisingly denigrates President Joe Biden, Trump’s likeliest opponent in a 2024 general election.
But heading into the Republican caucus and primary season, the Dilley Meme Team is putting quite a bit of energy behind online content mocking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), one of the best-supported Republican candidates not named Trump. The memes mocking DeSantis sometimes borrow from existing memes or online tropes, including one depicting DeSantis as a neon-clad rollerskating Ken from Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, and several nodding to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s unsuccessful presidential run and his unfortunate “Jeb!” wordmark.
There’s also a section devoted to RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), which has become a Trumpian bugbear throughout 2023. There, figures like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are mocked in memes. One rhetorical technique of Dilley’s is to refer to a “Uniparty” of more mainstream Republican leaders aligning with Democrats against the “MAGA” right-wingers. The RINO memes appear to underscore that belief.
In one tweet, dated Dec. 5, 2023, Dilley declared, “The reality of what the Uniparty politicians in America have done is far worse than most can even begin to comprehend. You’re tired, sick, broke, and stressed to the max by design. It’s not poor decision making or incompetence. They mean to destroy you and your country.”
In another tweet, from Jan. 29, 2023, Dilley pledged that he would treat DeSantis like another Trump rival who ran a campaign against candidate Trump. “We will meme that disloyal dog into oblivion and make him permanently unelectable just like Ted Cruz.”