Biden clearly agreed that one version of this analysis was correct: he replaced his campaign manager on March 12 after a series of victories made it clear that he would be the candidate. Jen O’Malley Dillon, the new manager, started when the pandemic exploded and the campaign went virtual.
“You have a new campaign manager who needs to get in touch with the existing team, and she needs to do it remotely,” said John Podesta, president of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “That is a challenge.”
The Biden campaign hasn’t quite figured out what will replace the traditional offset events of a presidential campaign. At the moment of the crisis, Biden has two major problems when attention is necessarily focused on those responsible.
The first is, how can he actually conduct events outside of his basement that get attention and coverage? The second is what can he say about Trump now? This is a new problem for Democrats. Since he shut down the escalator in Trump Tower in 2015 to announce his campaign, no democrat has hesitated to attack Trump. In the primaries this year, candidates sometimes stressed that they were more interested in explaining their policies than in addressing the president. But that’s only because there was a common understanding between voters and democratic candidates that Trump was insoluble in every way.
Now, for the first time, some Democrats are wondering whether the president’s pillory could cost anything.
“Biden has a thin line,” said Biden’s external advisor. “As much as I don’t like Trump and think what a bad job he does, there is now a risk that an attack on him can strike back at you if you’re too far out. I don’t think the public is now criticizing it Trump wants to hear. “
Then there is the problem that Biden is denied one of his political strengths. Biden lives from personal connection; The pandemic has robbed him of the ability to meet real people. In a recent interview with CNN, he recalled the pain of the lack of human contact. He can’t even be close to the children of his late son Beau.
“Every day they go through the forest and through a neighborhood, sit outside in the back yard and we sit on the veranda. And I bribe them with ice cream. But we’re talking about the day and hanging out, ”Biden said to Jake Tapper on Tuesday. “But I can’t go down and hug and kiss her, which I usually do. I just follow the instructions – and everyone who comes in from the secret service wears masks and gloves. “
His campaign is very much about how he can promote the human connection from which he lives under the new rules of social distance.
“We are considering what a virtual campaign looks like and how we can ensure that Biden can create the personal connection he can have with voters when he is out in the real world,” he said to Bedingfield. “How do we do it online? We are experimenting on this front with many different formats. “
Next, a regular podcast starts on Monday, which Biden will moderate in a one-on-one format.
Biden stumbled to victory with an almost bankrupt campaign. The series of main prizes on Tuesday evening – with all the accompanying reporting – caused a flood of new donations. But then the pandemic pushed the campaign aside and the economy collapsed. These two developments have worried many Democrats that Biden’s fundraising has stalled dramatically.
The Biden campaign admitted that this was a serious problem.
“We are preparing for this and thinking about how we will run the campaign. We know that it is very likely that donations will be raised across the board, not just for our campaign but also leaner than a few months ago,” said a biden consultant. “And I think that’s the reality that all campaigns are facing.” (On the other hand, important expenses such as travel by candidates and events have disappeared.)
But there are other Democrats who think that all the moves on Biden’s bizarre situation and the complexity and political disadvantages of a virtual campaign are exaggerated. In her view, he can defeat Trump in general elections just as he almost won the Democratic nomination: only by being there.
“In the long run, it will work for them,” said a prominent democrat. “I don’t like talking about it politically, but global leaders rise 25 points in the middle of this crisis. The Italian prime minister has a 75 percent approval rating. In France, [President Emmanuel] Macron has risen over 50 percent. As you remember, after September 11, George Bush was 90 percent. ”
The point, of course, was that Trump didn’t see the traditional rating surge that President almost always received in the midst of a national crisis.
“He actually did things that made it worse or not, that made it worse,” said the Democrat, “and all on video.”
But Dunn was open to how uncertain the pandemic policy is now. “Anyone who tells you,” Oh yes, I’ve been through this before! “, She said.” I want to know when and where. ”