From a new studio in his basement Joe Biden tries to get his face back in the media …..
Nervous Democratic donors, and self-interested political media, were fretting that Biden was allowing himself to become irrelevant. On Tuesday, though, Biden began wearing out his new Delaware home studio, doing extended interviews on The View, CNN, and MSNBC.
It’s a decent start at keeping Biden in the conversation. But he will need to find creative ways to expand his media presence for as long as the crisis lasts, and to regularly highlight President Donald Trump’s epic, lethal incompetence in dealing with the pandemic. Expecting Trump’s blunders to have political consequences all by themselves would be a huge mistake, as polls are already showing. “That line of thinking drives me fucking nuts,” says Lis Smith, the strategist whose maximalist media tactics turned Pete Buttigieginto a surprisingly strong primary contender. “Democrats always think that there’s going to be some divine intervention, that Trump will somehow self-destruct. That is a losing strategy. Biden can do a mix of national TV, local TV, Spanish-language TV, hit the phones, and do radio. But what’s really important in this moment is that the audience for this is not your typical political audience. It’s literally everyone. Sports podcasts would have him on. Entertainment podcasts would have him on. People are really hungry for information, they’re really hungry for facts, and they’re really hungry for leadership.”
As Biden becomes more visible again, there is the risk—actually, the likelihood—that he will say goofy things along the way. The greater danger is that he gets drawn into a pissing match with Trump, something Trump is already trying to stoke. “The media also wants a fight, and we want the story to go on,” says Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016 and now a contributor to The Circus on Showtime. “So the campaign needs to be somewhat wary of playing into that. But Super Tuesday showed that Biden has a deep reservoir of support and goodwill from voters, and not just with Democrats, because Independents and moderate Republicans voted for him too.”
Biden himself shouldn’t be the one doing all the talking. His team has already taken some steps in this direction, releasing a coronavirus explainer video featuring a top aide….
The first is how can he actually do any events outside of his basement that will get attention and coverage? The second is what can he say about Trump now? This is a new problem for Democrats. Ever since he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower in 2015 to announce his campaign, there has been absolutely no hesitation by any Democrat to attack Trump. Sometimes in the primaries this year candidates would make a point of emphasizing that they were more interested in explaining their policies rather than ripping into the president. But that’s only because there was a shared understanding between voters and Democratic candidates that Trump was irredeemable in every way.
Now, for the first time, some Democrats are wondering whether there could be a cost to pillorying the president.
“Biden has a thin line,” the outside adviser to Biden said. “As much as I dislike Trump and think what a bad job he’s doing, there’s a danger now that attacking him can backfire on you if you get too far out there. I don’t think the public wants to hear criticism of Trump right now.”
Then there’s the issue of Biden being denied one of his political strengths. Biden thrives on personal connection; the pandemic has robbed him of the ability to meet with actual people. In a recent interview with CNN, he recalled the pain of missing human contact. He can’t even be close to his deceased son Beau’s kids….
Some feel Biden is being overshadowed by NY’s Governor Cuomo who is also doing daily virus media briefing in the nation-wide media capital of New York City….