Whether by design or happy coincidence the Democratic party and the Joe Biden Campaign have implemented a strategy that seems to be working well. This strategy is to keep their own gaff prone candidate isolated and off the campaign trail while their equally gaff prone opponent is continually forced into the spot light where he is defeating himself through a series of unforced errors.
This strategy is going to continue straight into the conventions. The Democratic National Convention, which is to be held in Milwaukee, WI, will now be a virtual convention. What does this mean?
Well, it simply means that the state delegations will not actually be present in the city for Joe Biden’s nomination. All official business will be conducted virtually; including the business of casting the votes that will make the former Vice President the party’s nominee.
For his part, Joe Biden will be in the city. He will accept the nomination and he will deliver his speech.
According to the campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, “Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee and take the next step forward towards making Donald Trump a one-term president.” It is unclear how much of a live audience he will be speaking to, however.
The reasoning behind this move, as you might have already guessed, is an abundance of caution do to the Coronavirus. At this time, this virus is still a large part of the national conscience and the Democrat party doesn’t anticipate that changing in two month’s time (in fact, it could be said that they plan on keeping it that way).
These plans are a sharp contrast to the Republican plans. President Trump has continued to push for a traditional convention. However, the governor of North Carolina, where the Republican convention was to held, has pushed back. Roy Cooper, that states Democratic Governor, has implemented strict social distancing guidelines which he has refused to relax for the Convention.
The result is that the Party will conduct all of its official business in North Carolina as planned. However, Trump will accept the nomination and deliver his speech at an event in Jacksonville, Florida.
Returning to the unfolding campaign strategy, what we see playing out is two camps attempting to conduct the battle on terms that are favorable to them. As mentioned earlier, Biden’s team is attempting to keep their candidate off the trail while Trump continues to receive the spotlight (and the blame) during these turbulent times. The virus and the riots in many big cities dominate the headlines. As President, Trump must comment on, and even propose solutions to all of these problems. The Democrats and Joe Biden, however, only need to criticize. They have no need to propose solutions.
This only works, though, if Trump’s exposure comes in certain forms: daily press briefings are not his strong suit. Also, the President’s (sigh) constant Tweeting does nothing to help him. However, if Trump’s public exposure comes in the form of the massive campaign rallies for which he is well known, things start to change. During the last campaign, and for much of his Presidency, delivering a speech in front of a large enthusiastic crown has been one of his strongest attributes. While his last event in Tulsa had disappointing attendance numbers, television and internet viewership was through the roof.
As a campaign strategy, these events are good optics for him, however, they are also bad optics for Joe Biden. Unlike Trump, such events expose Joe Biden’s weaknesses. He cannot draw as big or as enthusiastic crowd as the President. The former VP’s weakness as a public speaker and his lack of energy are exposed during such events. The juxtaposition of the two candidates in such situations is definitely a plus for Trump.
In fact, the Trump campaign seems to be of the opinion that any image that places the President side-by-side with the former Vice-President would work to his advantage. In a recent spat, the Trump team attempted to push for a fourth Presidential debate between Trump and Biden. The Biden Team, however, rejected this.
With a little over four months to go till the election, here’s what you can expect to look for. The Biden campaign will continue to keep their candidate off of the campaign trail as much as possible. He will hold very few, if any, large scale campaign events. Instead, he will continue to issue statements from his computer at home. Any interviews that he does will, likewise, be conducted via computer. The coronavirus will be used as an excuse to avoid public appearances at every opportunity. Any events held by Trump will be described as reckless and dangerous for the same reason.
The Trump campaign will hit the campaign trail hard. They will host rallies whenever they can and will try to draw Biden out into public view to a greater degree than he already is. The Democratic Party will attempt to hinder the President at every opportunity by having their Governors maintain social distancing guidelines so as to prevent his rallies. This will be especially true in swing states that went for Trump last time but have since gotten Democratic Governors. These are Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.
The Democratic National Convention will be held August 17-20 and the Republican National Convention will be held August 24-27.