09.28.2020 1

How’s that Basement Campaign Working Out for Ya’, Joe? 

By Catherine Mortensen

The last president to win an election from the comfort of his front porch was Warren G. Harding in 1920. A hundred years later, it looks like Joe Biden is attempting to do the same, only from his basement.

Reporters covering the campaign point out that Biden has taken nine days off from the campaign trail this month, something virtually unheard of in modern presidential politics.

Veteran political reporter Haris Alic who covers the Biden campaign for Breitbart noted in a recent article, “More than a few reporters were quick to note that the Democrat nominee’s schedule stands in stark contrast to that of President Donald Trump, who has increased his travel in recent weeks as the general election has kicked into gear.”

Biden’s staff say he is home prepping for the upcoming debates. Previously the campaign said it was focusing on virtual events as a result of concerns over Covid-19. But Alic, who has been covering Biden since last year’s Democratic primaries, said there may be more at play. He said long before Covid-19, the 78-year old Biden campaigned less than any of the other democratic candidates in the primary.

“It may be a stamina thing, or it may be that he’s up in the polls, and his staff doesn’t want him to make a gaffe,” Alic said. “But there’s a clear pattern of him not being out on the campaign trail as much as other candidates.”

Alic said the Biden campaign is doing more virtual events, potentially reaching thousands in a single “virtual social media happy hour” with the candidate. Not surprisingly, Alic said he is able to cover much of the Biden campaign without ever leaving home.

“They post a lot of his speeches on YouTube and the campaign sends links to his virtual events,” explained Alic.

While Alic would not speculate as to the effectiveness of this strategy, he said it does pose challenges for reporters trying to gauge voter reaction. In a traditional campaign, he explained, where reporters attend rallies, speeches, and other events, they would have opportunities to talk with voters to get insights into how the candidate’s message is being received. But with virtual campaign events reporters have no access to supporters or event attendees. “We’ve kind of sequestered ourselves into a little bit of a bubble.”

He believes this is “a big deal” because with just 40 days left to the election, it’s hard to know how the candidate’s message is being received by “that very small percentage of center voters” who could determine the outcome of the election.

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, says what we are seeing from Biden does not instill confidence that he’s up to the job.

“Americans expect their presidential candidates to demonstrate the stamina and mental fortitude on the campaign trail which proves that they can do the job in the Oval office. The presidency is not a virtual position and Biden’s bizarre, but rare automaton like presentations are a clear indication that he is not physically able to do the job. Unlike Biden, presidents have to work past 9 a.m.

“America’s workers expect, at the very least, that their president will work as many hours as they do,” concluded Manning. “Given Biden’s post-Labor Day run, there is zero evidence he is up to that task.”

Catherine Mortensen is the Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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