The Key to Biden's Campaign Success May Be Letting Trump Talk
Ian Franks
8 Aug

Joe Biden's stay-at-home campaign strategy leaves President Trump to dominate the headlines - to the detriment of his own re-election campaign. "Joe Biden" by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

For several months, Joe Biden has been running an election campaign out of his basement - successfully.

Of course, this is a far lower profile than most politicians keep while running for any public office, let alone the president of the United States of America.

It may not entirely be a strategy. Perhaps he is listening to public health warnings, staying home and avoiding crowds.

Or maybe it’s the most effective tactic the Biden camp have found so far.

From his home, the presumptive Democratic candidate has been involved in campaign videos, media interviews and a hefty number of Tweets.

And it’s in the Tweets where Biden finds his headlines.

On Twitter, Biden wrote: “On July 1st, Donald Trump predicted the coronavirus was going to ‘just disappear.’

“He was wrong — and more than 25,000 Americans died due to the virus last month.

“Mr. President, step up and do your job before even more American families feel the pain of losing a loved one.”

In this case, timing was key. The Tweet came the morning after the president “visibly floundered” in a television interview on HBO by Axios’s national political correspondent, Jonathan Swan.

According to The Guardian newspaper, Trump was “pressed on a range of issues, including the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the US, his claims that mail-in voting is fraudulent, and his inaction over the ‘Russian bounty’ scandal.”

It was a damaging interview for the Trump administration, and demonstrated that the president is his own greatest political liability - and Biden’s largest advantage.

As Biden holds small, remote events, Trump is left to answer huge questions amid a pandemic and subsequent economic crash.

President Trump at a briefing from law enforcement. Official White House photo by Tia Dufour.

Get The Locus sent straight to your inbox
Thanks for subscribing to The Locus!
Something went wrong. Sorry about that.

And it’s working. The Financial Times shows how the latest state-by-state polling data would translate into electoral college votes.

With 270 electoral college votes needed to win, the FT puts Biden at 308 to Trump at only 128.

And, according to FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average, the Democratic candidate has hovered between a lead of 7.6% to 9.6% since the beginning of July.

At least for the moment, it doesn’t hurt to stay out of the media spotlight - it already worked in the U.K.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, did not appear on any of the pre-election debate programmes before last December’s general election, sending a minister instead.

Then, he refused to attend a programme for party leaders, which highlighted his absence with an empty chair.

Seen by many as a bumbling figure and his party’s biggest liability, he stayed safe and achieved a landslide victory.

Trump’s political advisers and campaign strategists may wish that they could hide away their bumbling figure, too.

But you can’t run a country from a basement.

Ian Franks is the managing editor of 50 Shades of Sun.
OPINION
The Key to Biden's Campaign Success May Be Letting Trump Talk
Ian Franks
8 Aug

Joe Biden's stay-at-home campaign strategy leaves President Trump to dominate the headlines - to the detriment of his own re-election campaign. "Joe Biden" by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

For several months, Joe Biden has been running an election campaign out of his basement - successfully.

Of course, this is a far lower profile than most politicians keep while running for any public office, let alone the president of the United States of America.

It may not entirely be a strategy. Perhaps he is listening to public health warnings, staying home and avoiding crowds.

Or maybe it’s the most effective tactic the Biden camp have found so far.

From his home, the presumptive Democratic candidate has been involved in campaign videos, media interviews and a hefty number of Tweets.

And it’s in the Tweets where Biden finds his headlines.

On Twitter, Biden wrote: “On July 1st, Donald Trump predicted the coronavirus was going to ‘just disappear.’

“He was wrong — and more than 25,000 Americans died due to the virus last month.

“Mr. President, step up and do your job before even more American families feel the pain of losing a loved one.”

In this case, timing was key. The Tweet came the morning after the president “visibly floundered” in a television interview on HBO by Axios’s national political correspondent, Jonathan Swan.

According to The Guardian newspaper, Trump was “pressed on a range of issues, including the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the US, his claims that mail-in voting is fraudulent, and his inaction over the ‘Russian bounty’ scandal.”

It was a damaging interview for the Trump administration, and demonstrated that the president is his own greatest political liability - and Biden’s largest advantage.

As Biden holds small, remote events, Trump is left to answer huge questions amid a pandemic and subsequent economic crash.

President Trump at a briefing from law enforcement. Official White House photo by Tia Dufour.

Get The Locus sent straight to your inbox
Thanks for subscribing to The Locus!
Something went wrong. Sorry about that.

And it’s working. The Financial Times shows how the latest state-by-state polling data would translate into electoral college votes.

With 270 electoral college votes needed to win, the FT puts Biden at 308 to Trump at only 128.

And, according to FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average, the Democratic candidate has hovered between a lead of 7.6% to 9.6% since the beginning of July.

At least for the moment, it doesn’t hurt to stay out of the media spotlight - it already worked in the U.K.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, did not appear on any of the pre-election debate programmes before last December’s general election, sending a minister instead.

Then, he refused to attend a programme for party leaders, which highlighted his absence with an empty chair.

Seen by many as a bumbling figure and his party’s biggest liability, he stayed safe and achieved a landslide victory.

Trump’s political advisers and campaign strategists may wish that they could hide away their bumbling figure, too.

But you can’t run a country from a basement.

Ian Franks is the managing editor of 50 Shades of Sun.
Independent journalism isn't easy to find.

Journalism isn't cheap. To stay afloat, many sources rely on individuals for funding - but funding comes with a cost. If you go private, you may be influenced by certain special interests. If you go public, you're at the mercy of your readers and their interests.

The Locus doesn't rely on funding at all. Our web presence is provided for free, and the majority of our reporting and campaigning is done without cost. Wherever a small amount of money is needed, it's provided by The Locus team.

This means we're able to offer truly independent journalism. Our voice is our voice, so you can trust what you read. We're proud of that.

If you appreciate the work we do, please support us by spreading the message.