President-elect Joe Biden gave his victory speech accepting the United States presidency last night, and after a week of uncertainty, plenty of folks started noticing something: the exact same vehicles appeared in the front row at every one of the drive-in rallies. Here’s why.
The answer is actually really simple: the Biden crew got their hands on Jeep Gladiators, Jeep Wranglers, Ford Rangers, and Chevy Silverados in alternating red, white, and blue colors before decking them out with Biden-Harris décor. They were the same cars because they were reserved for family and friends, Buzzfeed reports.
“They had the clean and perfect look of new rental cars, windows darkened, paint gleaming in the sun,” Buzzfeed writes. “In the style of a tailgate, aides had placed a pair of blue folding chairs in the back of each truck.”
WTOL, a local news station in Toledo, Ohio, verified the same thing.
Basically, that front row of Jeeps and trucks served as a way to reserve that front row for the people close to the Biden campaign. Yes, they were placed there. No, they were not the cars of everyday citizens turning up to watch the speech. Yes, they were props. No, it isn’t a big scandal.
But it’s a pretty normal situation for speeches, especially in these situations. Family and friends get the front row. In an era of social distancing, setting up a handful of Jeeps, Fords, and Chevys was an easy way to highlight the automotive industry, provide space for loved ones, and stick with the drive-in theme of the day. And, considering the UAW did endorse Biden, it makes sense that its cars would take center stage.
But because this is 2020, there are already conspiracy theories floating around about how it’s all a setup, some underground Jeep sponsorship that indicates... I don’t know. The fact that all elites are in cahoots together? The fact that no actual, real people support Biden? That America is a dystopian nightmare? That it’s staged?
Of course it’s staged. It’s political theater. Politics—especially American politics—is all about posturing, making statements and impressions. It’s not a scandal. It’s just the way we’ve functioned in America ever since we realized that politics makes good TV. It’s not much deeper than that.