Talking Points

A reckoning is coming for blue-checked progressives

President Biden may be a lot of things, but Extremely Online isn't one of them. In fact, his allies have often boasted that he won the White House precisely by ignoring progressive chatter on the internet.

"There is a conversation that's going on on Twitter that they don't care about," a Democratic strategist said during the 2020 presidential campaign. "They won the primary by ignoring all of that. The Biden campaign does not care about the critical race theory-intersectional Left that has taken over places like the New York Times." This attitude, the argument goes, went on to serve them well in November.

But some of the people who have gone to work for Biden care a great deal about the Twitter conversation, in which they are enthusiastic participants. And it keeps getting them in trouble. 

New White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre may be a subdued presence in the briefing room, but she certainly popped off a good bit on Twitter (and a handful of MSNBC appearances). Those tweets about stolen elections and the alleged racism of a network she now takes questions from got attention. Perhaps someday someone will even ask her about them!

Neera Tanden's nomination for Office of Management and Budget director was withdrawn in no small part because of mean tweets that offended various lawmakers. She now must confine her employment opportunities to parts of the White House that do not require Senate confirmation.

Tweets, and comments about Twitter, played an outsized role in the ouster of Nina Jankowicz and the shuttering of the government disinformation board she ever-so-briefly helmed.

Generations of Democrats from the age of 45 on down are going to have plenty of controversial opinions that they have painstakingly preserved on social media. It will be easy for their opponents in Congress and the press to track them down. It will come back to haunt them as surely as that college Facebook picture of a keg stand that is now being viewed by a consulting firm's human resources department.

Republicans are not immune from this trend either. Some Trump appointees ran into a version of this problem too, though usually lower-level ones. The former president's real-time Twitter habit was a constant source of controversy until his pre-Elon Musk ban. But younger people will hold higher positions in the next GOP administration and see their profiles scoured for wrongthink. 

Blue checks won't be allowed to go unchecked.