Former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager this week said former Vice President Joe Biden will be disadvantaged in the 2020 election against President Donald Trump because the left lacks outlets like Breitbart News to help Biden “fight the social media wars.”
According to a Yahoo report, David Plouffe—who helped Obama use Facebook as an online organizing tool to run circles around Hillary Clinton in the primaries and the late John McCain in the general—told “Skulduggery” podcast hosts Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman on that the 2020 campaign is going to “be a challenge” for Biden because “Trump gets this, and his campaign gets this: It’s blunt force communication.”
“Everyone’s got their role to fight the social media wars, which we have to do because we don’t have Fox and Sinclair and Breitbart and all of these online publications that seem to pop up every day that the right uses in a coordinated way,” Plouffe reportedly added. “I really hope that any day we’re going to all get emails from the Biden campaign, ‘Hey, we need you to write postcards.’”
Sunday’s ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Biden indeed faces a huge enthusiasm gap against Trump.
The poll found that “strong enthusiasm for Biden among his supporters – at just 24% – is the lowest on record for a Democratic presidential candidate in 20 years of ABC/Post polls.” In addition, the poll found that “more than twice as many of Trump’s supporters are highly enthusiastic” (53%) about supporting the president for reelection.
Plouffe is concerned that Biden and progressives are just not meeting people where they get their media in 2020.
“They really need to do a lot more videos, really think Facebook and Instagram and YouTube first,” Plouffe reportedly said of Biden’s team. “I’m a little worried about that. They do statements, they did a conference call last week, now they’re doing interviews — interviews are good because they’re video, and those clips can be edited and put out for reach. But I think they need to think much more social media first. And I would say that without the coronavirus situation. … The public square now is Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and, for younger people, Snapchat and TikTok.”
As Plouffe hinted, Biden is struggling in the new media environment like Clinton in 2016 against an incumbent president who has mastered the art of using new media tools and platforms to go around the legacy media’s filters.
Biden, like Clinton and her team before him, has comically struggled to use new forms of media to communicate a coherent message for his candidacy or make cogent arguments against Trump.
Breitbart News was out in front of new media and legacy news outlets in setting the narrative during the 2016 Republican primary season and the eventual 2016 general election between Trump and Clinton.
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria earlier this year, Clinton had to “begrudgingly” acknowledge that she gives Breitbart News “a lot of credit” for its ability shape narratives that stick.