Despite the heavy criticism of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his campaign has adapted well to the realities of virtual campaigning and could still win in November.
The recent polls have Biden in the lead, but Trump has several advantages, including his attacks on China and an extensive virtual campaign, that may lead him to victory in the election.
The president’s early response to the coronavirus was especially criticized, but the president did eventually adopt a more cautious approach. He signed a massive stimulus package that put money in the hands of Americans, a factor that could help him on election day, according to Politico.
“The initial mishandling of the coronavirus by the government doesn’t mean voters will penalize Trump in November,” Michael Ceraso, Pete Buttigieg’s New Hampshire director and former Sanders 2016 campaign staffer, told Politico.(RELATED: Trump Halts Federal Retirement Investments In Chinese Funds)
“We know we have two candidates who can pivot this generation’s largest health crisis to their policy strengths,” he continued. “But history tells us that an incumbent who steers us through a challenging time, a la Bush and 9/11 and Obama and the Great Recession, are rewarded with a second term.”
Campaign officials also told Time that they plan to highlight “Biden’s initial criticism of Trump’s decision to halt travel from China.”
“Joe Biden does have a really murky and deep relationship with China and there are questions that need to be answered about that. We need to have that conversation.” Erin Perrine, principal deputy communications director for the Trump 2020 campaign, told the Daily Caller on May 7.
“Joe Biden’s record with China, which includes his son Hunter, and it includes things like Joe Biden helping bring China into the World Trade Organization which help shift American jobs overseas,” she said.
“When we talk about Joe Biden to work hand and glove with the Chinese government, we see a clear contrast between President Trump putting America first and Joe Biden putting Joe Biden first.”
Murtaugh said that they will be focusing on Biden attacks that will resonate during the pandemic, per Time. The Trump campaign has also adjusted well to the realities of the coronavirus that have caused most of the world to move things to a virtual platform.
This pandemic has also changed the way candidates campaign. It postponed several Democratic primaries and canceled campaign rallies for both the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Trump.
The campaign says that it has roughly 1,000 staffers and 550,000 trained volunteers throughout the U.S. running a virtual campaign.
“The Trump Campaign has a significant advantage because of our early and ongoing investment in data and technological infrastructure that began in 2015,” Ali Pardo, the campaign’s deputy communications director, told Time in March. (RELATED: Trump’s 2020 Spokeswoman Explains How The Campaign Has Adapted To COVID-19)
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told the Daily Caller’s Stephanie Hamill in March that they have adapted well to campaigning during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have Brad Parscale at the top of our campaign as campaign manager, he understands the digital landscape like no one else,” McEnany said.
“We have a very strong data list, the best in the business even Hillary Clinton has touted how great our list is. That allows us to contact voters by the tens of millions, those key swing voters that will determine the election.”
“Democrats have nothing of the sorts, and they can’t keep up in this kind of environment. Our campaign is steamrolling forward,” the press secretary continued.
The Biden campaign was met with some recent difficulties after hosting a virtual rally in Tampa, Florida.
“Did they introduce me? Am I on?” Biden asked after being introduced during the May 7 rally. His virtual rally was met with technical glitches, screens going dark, participants appearing and disappearing and viewers “leaving in droves,” according to Real Clear Politics.
“Did they introduce me? Am I on?” Joe Biden asks at the start of his Virtual Rally in Tampa, FL. pic.twitter.com/vx8BEdF9bb
— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) May 7, 2020
Evan Axelbank of Fox 13 News in Tampa tweeted afterward that the rally was a “disaster,” and that the Biden campaign might need “to beef this tech operation up.”
At one point there were 2600 watching. There are now less than 2k. It was supposed to start at 515. 45 mins in, they’ve had usual warm up acts but taking too long to get to the main act.
Campaigns are going to have to learn they no longer have captive audiences!
— Evan Axelbank Fox13 (@EvanAxelbank) May 7, 2020
Despite Biden’s lead in most of the national polls, betting markets also believe Trump will win in November, according to Axios. But his victory, according to some economists, is dependent on the state of the economy as some states start to reopen, and whether or not a second wave of infections come with it.
“We can’t expect that the economy is going to be in very good shape, although the trajectory ought to be pretty positive by November,” Steve Skancke, a former Treasury Department and Council on Economic Affairs official during the Carter and Reagan administrations, told Axios. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Trump 2020 Communications Director Explains 4 Strategy Changes The Campaign Made To Deal With Coronavirus)
It’s “more than likely we’re going to see a positive stock market and there will be positive job growth,” Skancke said.
The “wildcard” as Axios reports is what comes next with coronavirus, and whether or not a vaccine develops.
“And that’s a very significant wildcard both on the downside and the upside for people’s perceptions of how the president managed all this and how they’re going to vote in November,” Mark Zandi, a chief economist at Moody’s Investor Service, told Axios.
Fox news contributor and New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin argued in an op-ed for the NYP that coronavirus won’t cost Trump the 2020 election.
He explains that he asked 10 of his friends who are “all successful New Yorkers … active in business, philanthropy, and are politically astute,” about the president’s handling of the pandemic and what might happen in November, according to the op-ed.
“Although several in the group express uncertainty about whether Trump will win a second term because of the coronavirus and economic impact, not a single one is convinced the president will lose, largely because they all see Biden as weak and in obvious decline. Even those who reflexively back Democrats doubt that Biden can win,” Goodwin wrote in the April 18 op-ed.
One of his ten friends made the case that the pandemic has clarified some “divisive issues.”
“He’s been proven right about so many things,” Goodwin’s friend said. “Stopping illegal immigration is no longer debatable. His trade dispute with China makes even more sense because of how the Communist Party deceived the world. The need to cut regulations is more obvious and putting America First is no longer a question.”