Biden Running Virtual 2020 Campaign from Home: ‘This Is Not Politics; This Is Life’

Joe Biden
Joe Biden/YouTube

Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden is winning primaries, raising money and criticizing his would-be 2020 rival President Donald Trump all from his basement as the coronavirus has shut down all public gatherings across the country, including campaign rallies.

And he has no plans to hit the campaign trail anytime soon, according to the Boston Globe, which criticized Trump for doing just that:

Joe Biden has no foreseeable plans to resume in-person campaigning amid a pandemic that is testing whether a national presidential election can be won by a candidate communicating almost entirely from home.

The virtual campaign Biden is waging from Wilmington, Delaware, is a stark contrast with President Donald Trump, who is planning travel despite warnings from public health experts about the coronavirus’s spread. It also intensifies the spotlight on how Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will manage his campaign, with some in his party fretting that his still-developing approach isn’t reaching enough voters.

For now, Biden and his aides are brushing back hand-wringing from Democrats and mockery from Republicans who argue that the 77-year-old is “hiding in his basement.”

Biden’s campaign manager used an expletive to explain their strategy, according to the Globe.

“Voters don’t give a s— about where he’s filming from,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon told the Associated Press. “What they care about is what he’s saying and how we connect with them.”

“The idea that somehow we are being hurt by my keeping to the rules and following the instructions that (have) been put forward by doctors is absolutely bizarre,” Biden told ABC’s Good Morning America.

The Globe reported O’Malley has been running Biden’s campaign since mid-March and has recently “beefed up” the digital and financial teams and will announce state leadership in battleground states “in the coming weeks.”

“But those moves haven’t prevented critiques from prominent Democrats, including the architects of President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, who question Biden’s digital savvy and capacity to build the national vote-by-mail effort that might be necessary to win during a pandemic,” the Globe reported.

Obama loyalist David Plouffe and David Axelrod wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed that Biden’s home studios are like “an astronaut beaming back to earth from the International Space Station” and have urged the former vice president to use more social media.

Yvette Simpson, head of the left-wing Democracy for America, told the Globe she is “very concerned” and cannot see “how we’re going to engage people.”

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who helped Biden win the state’s primary, said in the Globe report that he’s “very worried” about Democrats generating a “voter turnout operation that balances in-person voting with absentee balloting.”

“To some degree, the naysaying reflects Democrats’ desperation to beat Trump – who holds a clear early lead in fundraising and organizing – and the reality that Biden emerged from a haphazard primary campaign and must now play catch-up,” the Globe reported.

Indeed, Biden’s most recent fundraising shows he raised $46.7 million in March and added to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) effort for a total of $60.5 million — compared to Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) for a total of $259 million “cash on hand.”

The Globe noted, however, that Trump’s April total is close to Biden’s at $61.7 million.

“Critics, Biden allies say, also gloss over how Biden’s core pitch – touting his experience and empathy, making a moral and competence case against Trump, and promising to ‘rebuild the middle class’ – won over Democratic primary voters even before the coronavirus upended daily life,” the Globe reported. “Now, Biden’s argument against Trump is sharpened but stems from the same roots, with recent polling suggesting it’s reaching voters.”

“Joe’s got the right message,” Clyburn said.

Biden said his goal is also “to set an example … with this health and economic crisis.”

“This is not politics,” Biden said. “This is life.”

Meanwhile, Trump is heading to Pennsylvania on Thursday to rally with people who helped him win the presidency in 2016.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.

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