Friday, May 8, 2020

Perhaps the Biden Campaign Needs to Step It Up a Bit?

In my post yesterday, I noted that Trump is in a very poor position to get re-elected and Democrats should be able to beat him if they run a "smart, tough campaign". Heck even an averagely good campaign.
But what if they don't? Now I have not generally been a fan of the idea that Biden is blowing it by not being front and center in the national discussion. In his position, that would be hard to do and, arguably, it is better to have the spotlight on Trump and how he's screwing everything up. After all, the best election for Biden--as it would be for any Democratic candidate--is for the election to be a referendum on Trump.
However, there does not seem to be a good reason for lackluster production values and technical glitches in Biden's communication efforts. It should not be hard to buy the requisite expertise.
And then there's this. I was fascinated by this recounting by David Weigel in his excellent campaign newsletter of what happened when he signed up as a supporter with both the Biden and Trump campaigns. The experiences were, umm, pretty different:
"Signing up for the Trump app subscribed me to not one, but two automated text chains. The first came in from the Trump campaign within seconds of sign-up, informing me that I had just gotten “Reward Access Unlocked,” thus qualifying me to “earn points & meet Pres Trump during the campaign in fall.” One minute later, the Republican National Committee thanked me for joining the “team,” and asked whether I could let the president “know what you think of this week's accomplishments.”
Following the first link took me back to the Trump campaign page; following the second gave me a yes or no poll on whether I approved of the president, with space to write about why. I didn’t go further than that, but two hours later, the RNC texted with news: “You were 1 of the 25 President Trump selected for a 5X-MATCH EXTENSION! The other 24 patriots already donated, now it's your turn.”
Not wanting to be left out, I clicked through to a page powered by WinRed, the newish Republican donation portal. A photo of the president pointing at me like Uncle Sam was displayed next to a pitch that had become even more urgent: “This offer is only available for the NEXT HOUR, so you need to act fast. Please contribute ANY AMOUNT in the NEXT HOUR and your gift will be 5X-MATCHED!” A $100 donation button was already colored in, and a box that would have made this a “monthly recurring donation” was already checked. When I tried to click away, a window popped up warning me, in vain, that the offer was about to expire.
All of that happened within two hours. The Biden campaign did not contact me until seven hours after I’d downloaded the app, finally texting me in the late afternoon. “It's Joe Biden and I owe you my sincere thanks, David,” the account wrote. “You all have been so great to this campaign.” (You all?) “I've been calling donors and it's so great to thank people personally. I'm calling more this week who are helping us start May strong. If you aren't a May donor yet, you can chip in here and I might be calling you soon.”
Following that link, I was offered a shot at “a video call from Joe” and told that the “average gift is only $25.” A form to fill in an exact donation amount was left blank; a box that would make this a one-time donation, not a recurring one, was already checked.
Over the next few days, it was easy to forget that the Biden app existed. Push texts were infrequent, and unlike the Trump app, the Biden app didn't let me track virtual campaign events...Trump 2020 did not let me go so easily. A news feed let me read the latest messaging, just as it would appear to a reporter on the media list, or the campaign's curated tweets, which prioritized big names like campaign manager Brad Parscale. An “engage” button educated me on ways to “fight with President Trump,” from hosting a “MAGA Meet Up” to joining the campaign finance committee as a high-dollar bundler."
Like I say, might be time for the Biden campaign to step up their game a bit. None of this is rocket science and presumably they have the money to buy who and/or what is needed for more effective outreach.
In this edition: Watching 2020 as a super-engaged Trump (and Biden) voter, watching the legal battles over stay-at-home orders, and watching what happens to New York's presidential primary, which may or may not happen.

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