Sep 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bill Stepien: Trump travel, grassroots campaigning worth $48 million a week


Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A stark difference between the Trump and Biden campaigns is Trump-Pence's aggressive continuation of traditional door-knocking amid the pandemic, while Joe Biden emphasizes virtual techniques. And President Trump travels more.

The state of play: Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien is now quantifying the difference, arguing in a new memo that candidate travel and the campaign's ground game give the president an advantage at a time when the airwaves are saturated.

From September 8–15, President Trump, Vice President Pence and the First Family made 38 political trips to 13 states. ... Using data analysis and broadcast monitoring performed with Cision software, the value of President Trump’s travel activity is quantifiable. ...
[T]he President's "Make American Great Again" events in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 8 and Freeland, Michigan on September 10 created calculated earned media values of $2.0 and $3.3 million (respectively), whereas September 13th's "Latinas for Trump" roundtable in Las Vegas earned a value of $5.1 million. ...
President Trump’s travel earned $40.1 million in calculated broadcast value over the seven day period alone — a figure that does not include the travel of Vice President Pence or the First Family. ...
Over the same seven day period, the President’s volunteer field team knocked on 1.47 million doors and made 4.04 million phone calls. ... [T]he monetary value of the Trump campaign’s grassroots efforts was $8.4 million this week alone.

The big picture: The approaches reflect the candidates' deliberate optical contrasts in their response to the virus. Trump holds packed rallies, while Biden sports a mask at events where taped circles separate attendees.

When I asked the Biden campaign about the difference in philosophies, national press secretary TJ Ducklo replied:

  • "[W]e are having thousands of meaningful conversations with voters in battleground states everyday while prioritizing public health and the safety of our supporters."

Read Stepien's full memo.

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