I cannot remember a time when a presidential election took a backseat during the election year. Do you sometimes forget we have an election in November? I do! It’s all about the Wuhan coronavirus.

Democrats have shown determination to oust President Donald Trump since he won in November 2016. It looks like the coronavirus has caused doubts while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a thorn in their side once again.

State and local governments have closed non-essential businesses, leaving people without jobs. Social distancing orders have made it hard for people to buy groceries or necessities to live at home. Parents have to home school their children while balancing working from home.

In other words, Americans have a lot more on their minds than the presidential election.

Fox News reached out to Democratic consultants and those who worked with President Barack Obama.

Biden has a significant delegate lead over Sanders, but the self-proclaimed socialist will not drop out:

To top it off, Biden still can’t shake Sen. Bernie Sanders, who seems determined to pursue his campaign as long as possible, even though Biden has a powerful delegate lead.

“The only a–hole doing damage to the party is Bernie Sanders,” said Joe DiSano, a Democratic political consultant based in Michigan. “He’s not going to win. He’s wasting time. Every minute that Joe Biden spends focused on Bernie Sanders is one less he’s spending on Donald Trump.”

The coronavirus caused the economy to tank, erasing the gains made during Trump’s administration. This is one reason why some have not written off Biden in November, but the pandemic might not last as long as predicted.

Trump will have a significant positive on his side if the economy bounces right back:

“The economy tends to determine a lot of voter behavior,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime New York political consultant who has worked for former President Bill Clinton and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “But if you put the economy together with more people dying — if this continues into June — the stress on the president will be very, very significant. If the economy starts to lift and the pandemic starts to subside, well then he [Trump] can claim victory.”

The coronavirus wiped out the economy, but it also erased Biden’s wins and his momentum. Biden and Sanders cannot travel to campaign, leaving them to virtual campaigning.

Trump remains all over the TV with coronavirus updates every day from the White House. This allows him to take jabs at Biden, who, in turn, cannot always fire back.

States have pushed their primaries to the summer, which put a damper on the Democratic primary. It has also helped dissipate the election from the media’s attention.

“I think people have forgotten who Biden is,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “When he does make the occasional appearance he screws it up. Biden is almost yesterday’s man already. All the luster of the primary wins is gone. Trump is the guy who is out there. He’s the one people see. He’s the one in charge. And the fact that he’s out there every day reassures people.

King added: “Whatever faults Trump has are faults he’s had all along – he exaggerates and all that – but he shows himself to be alert and knows what’s going on, while Biden just looks confused. I like Biden. He seemed to be on a bit of a roll, but now he’s just disappeared. I think Obama or even Trump would have found a way to stay in it, but he’s just disappeared.”

The virtual campaigning has hurt Biden due to technical difficulties and walking off camera. He does not appear alert and offers word salads to the audience.

CNN’s Jake Tapper had to remind Biden to cough into his elbow instead of his hand.

David Plouffe, who ran Obama’s campaign and became an adviser, said that no one had blamed Trump for the damage to the economy. I mean, duh. The virus caused it, and Trump doesn’t have magical powers to cure the illness. Also, people want to hear from leaders, not the candidates:

“You look at the economic situation and say, ‘How can an incumbent win in that?’ But, you know, no one’s blaming Trump for the damage,” Plouffe told the “Fox News Rundown” podcast. ” … I think if you can lay his crisis response at his feet and connect that to the economy, I do think that’s some headwind he’s got to run into.”

“But,” Plouffe continued, “almost no matter what happens, [the question is] can Donald Trump win Wisconsin? Can he win Michigan? Can he win Pennsylvania? Can he win Florida?’ Sure, because his base is so solid. And I think he’s going to turn out voters almost at a historical level on his behalf, so that makes him very dangerous if you’re Joe Biden.

“There’s nothing he [Biden] can do about it. He’s not in office. He’s not a governor. He’s not the president. And truthfully, [New York Govornor] Andrew Cuomo, [California Govornor] Gavin Newsom … Donald Trump, citizens want to hear from those folks because they’re the folks making decisions.”

Biden’s campaign and allies at least say they have no worries. Something tells me they have their doubts unless they don’t live in the real world:

Off the campaign trail and stuck at home like most Americans, Biden retooled his outreach to become digital. He’s now podcasting to speak directly with voters, holding virtual fundraisers, participating in TV townhalls and hosting targeted online forums, including a happy hour with young voters.

“I think you’ll continue to see us experimenting with different kinds of new digital formats,” Biden national press secretary T.J. Ducklo told Fox News.

“Obviously there is no playbook for this, but I think you’ve seen us take some big steps to adjust over the last couple of weeks and do a lot of things that have been pretty effective as far as adapting to these circumstances but still accomplishing the same objectives of the campaign which is to reach out to voters, have the vice president engage with voters, build our coalition and expand the kind of the community of supporters that we have,” Ducklo said. “We’ve been doing that.”

DiSano brushed off Trump’s approval ratings, which has gone up since the impeachment and the pandemic began. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MD) thinks Biden will “look even better in comparison” after the epidemic ends:

“I don’t think he’s trying to do anything right now to upend the president, which is appropriate. I think people are going to take that into consideration.”

“It would be awkward and tacky for Biden to try to get on television every day to criticize the president,” said Cleaver, a prominent Biden ally, adding that “Biden has never been much of a TV hog.”

Cleaver acknowledges that the most prominent Democrat in the country right now is Cuomo, who is at the heart of the pandemic response in New York, though he doesn’t think the governor, a Biden backer, would do anything to upstage the likely Democratic presidential nominee.

“The history books will record that the person who was most instructive on this [coronavirus] issue in the country is Andrew Cuomo,” Cleaver said. “….The amazing thing is the whole country is now tuning in to Andrew Cuomo.”

Some would think fewer media appearances would kill a campaign, but DiSano said it means no new gaffes: “Less press attention means less chance for misplaced words.”

Biden has used this time to reach out to young voters and far-left groups of the party. The situation to Biden’s campaign could be a lot worse:

“While I think this would have been a disaster for almost any candidate, maybe perhaps someone new, fresh on the scene, this would be a worse problem than it is now,” DiSano said. “But everyone knows Joe Biden. Everyone’s opinion of Joe Biden’s already formed. So the effect of this is a negative, but it’s not the negative it would be for someone else.”

Chris Moyer, a Democratic strategist and veteran of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the 2020 Cory Booker presidential campaign, said “the good news for the Biden campaign is that people know Joe Biden, his middle-class values, and how he’ll fight for workers and families.”

 

 
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