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Jennifer Rubin says…

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« on: April 03, 2020, 06:35:00 pm »


from The Washington Post…

Joe Biden's latest message is a preview of what is to come

The former vice president looks ready to make this election about leadership.

By JENNIFER RUBIN | 9:30AM EDT — Wednesday, April 01, 2020

In an image taken from video, former vice president Joe Biden conducts an online media briefing on March 25. — Photograph: Associated Press.
In an image taken from video, former vice president Joe Biden conducts an online media briefing on March 25. — Photograph: Associated Press.

FORMER vice president Joe Biden has been forced to do what no presidential candidate has ever done: Shift from a live campaign to a virtual one in the middle of an election. Most of the components of a traditional campaign — from public rallies to primary-night election parties to policy speeches before policy groups to appearances at conventions of key supporters (e.g., unions) to door knocking to setting up campaign offices in key states — have for the foreseeable future vanished. Even the primary schedule has been blown up. And, perhaps worst of all, for a presidential campaign, asking for money seems dicey as people are seeing the economy sink, their businesses shuttered and their jobs vanish.

Campaigning in a virtual mode forces a team to translate the modern elements of a campaign into new forms. The Biden team is going to have to learn as it goes, substituting virtual news conferences, virtual fundraisers, virtual roundtables and virtual volunteer events for physical, in-person affairs.

The good news for the Biden team is that millions upon millions of people are at home — and for once may be eager to pick up the phone even for a number on caller-ID that they do not recognize. They have time to watch Biden's events on the computer and time to watch his appearances on Sunday shows.

Biden's latest digital ad gives us a peek at what he will try to convey during an unprecedented time in a unique campaign environment.

Biden seems ready to focus on four aspects of the covid-19 crisis.

First, Biden will not spare President Trump from the charge that he failed as commander in chief, sending troops (health-care workers) into the fray without sufficient protection and equipment. The more Trump protests that governors do not need ventilators or that there are plenty of tests, the more fodder he provides to Biden that Trump is a derelict, incompetent commander in chief.

Second, Biden now can put meat on the bones of his message that the election is a fight for the “soul of the nation.” Originally, this meant a battle to recapture America as a decent, fair and welcoming country. Now, in the covid-19 pandemic, the battle is between two ways of addressing adversity. In Biden's telling, Republicans focus on bailing out corporate interests (e.g., the giant slush fund) and savaging regulations (even clear-air requirements in the middle of a respiratory illness) while Democrats want to focus on more help for nurses and responders, more unemployment pay and more help for small business. (The Senate majority leader is already dragging his feet on a fourth stimulus package). How the two sides react to the pandemic becomes emblematic of their values and priorities.

Third, the Democrats' best argument in 2018 was health care. Now that we are in a health-care epidemic not seen for 100 years, Democrats have an obvious upper hand. Unbelievably, Republicans will not drop their lawsuit seeking to invalidate all of Obamacare. In addition, on Tuesday, Politico reported, “The Trump administration has decided against reopening Obamacare enrollment to uninsured Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, defying calls from health insurers and Democrats to create a special sign-up window amid the health crisis.” This is horrifyingly cruel and politically shortsighted. Republicans however seem determined to be on the side of taking away or denying health-care coverage to millions of Americans. This is a gift to the Biden team.

Finally, Biden plainly wants this to be about a contrast in leadership styles. In place of Trump's bombast, irrationality and vindictiveness, Biden presents a calm and empathetic figure. Who do Americans want to listen to for the next four years, and who do they trust to guide them through the recovery from America's worst domestic disaster in a century? On that, Biden is betting the contest won't be close.


__________________________________________________________________________

Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion from a center-right perspective for The Washington Post. She covers a range of domestic and foreign policy issues and provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican Party and threats to Western democracies. Rubin, who is also an MSNBC contributor, came to The Post after three years with Commentary magazine. Prior to her career in journalism, Rubin practiced labor law for two decades, an experience that informs and enriches her work. She is a mother of two sons and lives in Northern Virginia.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Max Boot: Joe Biden has character. Donald Trump does not. This crisis makes it obvious.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/01/bidens-latest-message-is-preview-what-is-come
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