Democrat presidential frontrunner Joe Biden is desperate for attention as the coronavirus outbreak sucks up all the media oxygen.
The former vice president has gone from a stunning revival three weeks ago to almost persona non grata on network television amid the global pandemic, the Washington Examiner reports — and, along with the rest of America, he and his supporters have been barred from congregating in large groups, including for campaign rallies.
And we have already seen what happens when the former VP tries to livestream an event.
As the presumptive nominee with a growing delegate lead, Biden should be getting tons of media attention. Instead, according to the Examiner, the overwhelming majority of featured news stories are focused on COVID-19 — the growing number of cases, the government’s response, and multiple stimulus packages that have been proposed to help those affected by massive shutdowns.
Trump gaining ground?
Democratic strategist Jim Manley confirmed to the Examiner that Biden is having trouble “breaking through” the coronavirus chaos. While social media has provided a platform for candidates to grow their followings outside of TV, as the Examiner notes, Biden hasn’t been very successful capitalizing on it.
“There’s no denying he’s going have a hard time breaking through the chaos that is the 24-hour news cycle right now. All they can do and just stick to it,” Manley said of Biden’s campaign. “They can increase the use of video town halls, but I guess they had some problems with that.”
While Biden sits at home, President Donald Trump is front and center, giving daily press conferences and promising Americans that his government will send them stimulus checks, as ABC News notes. And all of this isn’t costing the president one penny of his $100+ million campaign war chest.
Of course, that’s not to say Trump isn’t being criticized for his response. But to some extent, even bad press can be better than none.
Moreover, if Trump comes off looking like a hero for his response to this outbreak, Biden will have a lot of trouble gaining any momentum before November. Such a scenario may be unlikely, however, since there has already been widespread economic damage from the shutdowns associated with the outbreak, as Politico noted Thursday.
More problems for Biden
Another problem looming on the horizon for Biden may be the ability of large donors to contribute to his campaign. Politico reported that the financial uncertainty surrounding both large corporate donors and small individual ones is expected to cut deeply into political contributions, and Biden and the Democratic National Committee were already behind Trump and Republicans in getting those contributions due to funds being split between multiple Democrat candidates vying for the party’s nomination.
“I think the thing people don’t realize is that campaigns and organizations — both political and nonprofits — don’t keep that much cash on hand,” co-founder of Run for Something, Amanda Litman, told Politico. “You’re running month to month. One bad month, you can make it through. Two or three, and it can be catastrophic.”
It will certainly be a historic election cycle.