In Joe Biden’s defense, this is a confusing time for us all. You can’t go out and hold campaign rallies to keep your supporters excited, nor can you send surrogates out to do it for you. It’s a struggle to make your campaign go when it literally can’t go anywhere.
Despite all that, however, Biden’s team is doing him no favors. He is very much kept from making many public appearances on TV, he handpicks which journalists can interview him, and he doesn’t take hard questions. There is no challenging much of anything he says while he’s on television because many of those handpicked journalists are so vested in Biden winning that they don’t want to trip him up.
But even with their help, Biden is doing himself very few favors. His answers are meandering, and at times even nonsensical. He doesn’t come across well on television.
His campaign staff is also struggling. How do you make someone who seems to be losing his faculties come across as exciting? How do you make him appeal to all parts of your coalition? How do you compete with a digital campaign team like Trump’s?
How do you compete on social media with Trump himself?
In 2012, Mitt Romney lost because he could not unite a coalition behind him, and he was running against Barack Obama and not for anything. There was nothing to excite the Republican Party about him, and he was a younger, more articulate, better looking, and mentally stable candidate than Biden is now.
The problem with the Biden campaign is that they are running against Trump and his ideas without providing a clear path for their own ideas. “We won’t do what he’s doing” is not a plan. It’s a contrarian philosophy, which is not what Americans want. American voters want answers right now, especially now, and the only reason that Biden is polling higher than Trump is that Trump’s response to the COVID-19 threat has been 24-hour news coverage. Biden is basically invisible and his plans are never fully fleshed out. Americans have nothing to compare Trump to, so with all the negative coverage right now, Biden polls better simply by not being Trump.
But that is not a long term strategy. Chances are that COVID-19 won’t be a major threat at election time. We won’t be shut down, we won’t be seeing such drastic numbers like we are now. The economy will be recovering (or even recovered), and the American public will be focusing on whatever is going on in that moment. COVID-19 is not a platform to run on.
What is Biden’s direction, here? Where does his campaign go? How do they start to build on momentum when he hasn’t even appeared to start moving yet? We’re still six months away from the election, but it’s going to go by quickly. The campaign just seems incredibly unprepared for this race, and it’s becoming more and more obvious each day.