The coronavirus has flipped the traditional ground war for the White House on its head, with President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden leading wildly different efforts.
Trump’s campaign is back out in the field: “Digital is important, mail is important, phones are important, but there is no substitute for getting out and being able to talk to voters face to face,” said a Pennsylvania GOP county chair during the president’s 2016 win.
Biden’s strategy is built on the belief that residents need to stay home and stay safe. Most of his volunteers are making calls, sending texts, and holding events on Zoom rather than knocking doors.
“What do you do in a world where you can’t go sit on a campus and you can’t go to the Starbucks across the street? It’s difficult,” said a spokesperson for the progressive voter registration group NextGen America.
So far, Biden’s leading in the polls, but his strategy will test just how much presidential campaigns will rely on in-person contact.
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Has anyone ever won the White House campaigning from their living room? Joe Biden is testing the theory. Donald Trump doesn’t want to find out.
All norms do seem to be out the window amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic, but the two competing presidential campaigns are taking different paths as they try to do the most important thing of all if they’re going to win the White House: Meet voters and motivate them to turn out in November.
The approach from President Trump’s campaign centers around trying to #liberate its legions of volunteers from their homes and press them into the traditional door-knocking that so often drive successful campaigns.
For Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee’s team has stuck firm to #stayathome, Zooming important calls with President Barack Obama and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and taking other steps in a bid to convert virtual enthusiasm into real votes.
Biden’s team is willing to bet that it can conduct a safe and effective presidential campaign without flouting social distancing rules. At the moment, polling leans in their favor in the key battleground states. But with Trump venturing out regardless of the COVID-19 virus, Biden’s theory is increasingly being put to the test.
“I am 100% a believer in that in-person campaigning is by far the most effective thing you can do,” said Michael Korns, a former chair of the Westmoreland County Republicans in Pennsylvania who helped organize for Trump in 2016. “Digital is important, mail is important, phones are important, but there is no substitute for getting out and being able to talk to voters face to face.”
Trump campaign moves back to “normal” while Biden hires up in the battlegrounds
The president’s campaign launched both door-knocking and in-person events during the weekend of June 13-14, around the same time most states started reopening in earnest and well before the recent spike in new coronavirus cases.
In Southwestern Pennsylvania, Joe Vazzano, a GOP field organizer, declared on Facebook last week that the president’s reelection effort …read more
Source:: Business Insider