Do you remember where you were the day you learned 2020 hopeful and white man John Delaney is unexpectedly swole? If you have not yet discovered this wholly surprising bit of trivia, I am here to inform you that day is today — and I’m maybe sorry about it. I’m not sure how sorry yet, but let’s continue and find out.
The subject of Delaney’s bulging pectorals, which first caught my wandering eye in the initial round of the presidential debates, appeared to suddenly grab Twitter’s attention on Friday, when Sam Biederman (@biedersam) tweeted a photo expressing his surprise at the revelation. “Wait what,” he remarked, which is a correct reaction to this news. Slade Sohmer (@slade) followed up by dubbing the candidate “Jacked Delaney.”
But in truth, Delaney’s unexplained bod has been a blossoming meme amid an otherwise uneventful campaign in which he has struggled to distinguish himself from the dozen other Caucasian males running for president.
The Ilhan Omar Task Force (@_Phonetics), which we assume is not formally associated with the Minnesota Congresswoman, anticipated the sexual and existential panic Delaney’s ripped physique would cause on August 9 when he claimed that the candidate “being absolutely jacked is not something i needed to be made aware of.” Meanwhile, Luke (Normal) (@lukeoneil47) dubbed Delaney a “Swole King,” as well as a “scallop brained bench pressing bitch.”
However, early adopter credits go to Marcus Gilmer (@marcusgilmer), who claimed all the way back in April that Delaney’s Marvel-ready torso is the “most underreported story of the 2020 campaign thus far.” (Happy — or again, maybe not — to help correct that, Marcus!)
To give credit where credit is due, the politician has been asked about what the hell is even going on with his whole situation at least once. In response to a question about his fitness routine during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, he claimed his suspiciously enormous arms are from “wrestling the press.” The response would be cute if it weren't a bit Trump-y.
But if you thirst for Delaney, should you also thirst for his politics? The answer is unclear as my feelings about his slammin' bod.
Delaney is one of just a handful of candidates — along with Kamala Harris and Marianne Williamson — to outline a vision for LGBTQ+ equality on his official 2020 website, or to even mention LGBTQ+ rights on their page at all. His actual plan, however, is pretty light. It includes banning conversion therapy, allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military, and passing the Equality Act, a federal nondiscrimination bill.
In contrast, Kirsten Gillibrand and Beto O’Rourke have outlined sweeping and expansive agenda to further LGBTQ+ rights if elected, which include allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood and combating the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color.
Although Delaney has hoped to distinguish himself as a moderate alternative to progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, that has also returned mixed results. During the second Democratic debates, Warren was viewed as having scored the “line of the night” in responding to criticism from Delaney that her proposals — which include universal health care — are overly lofty and unrealistic.
“I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” the Massachusetts Senator shot back.
The strategy of branding opponents to the left of him as offering promises they can’t deliver hasn’t exactly worked out for Delaney. Although he got significant screen time in the second debate, it didn’t lead to a bump in polling. Averages from RealClearPolitics show the former Maryland House representative tied for 14th place in the Democratic primaries, pulling in just .5 percent.
Great biceps do not a great candidate make, it seems.