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Collins appears on the BUILD live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.

  • "They all have audiences that we are tapping into," said Adrienne Elrod, who joined the Biden campaign last month to manage outreach initiatives with high-profile supporters. "People are still at home, living on their phones."

Driving the news: You may not know TV actor Misha Collins, but his 4.2 million Instagram followers certainly do. He'll interview Biden senior adviser Karine Jean-Pierre this afternoon.

  • Remember Bradley Whitford, who played the brainy Josh Lyman as deputy chief of staff on "The West Wing?" He’ll chat with potential VP pick Stacey Abrams about voting rights.
  • Other names lined up: Actor Debra Messing, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Between the lines: Campaigns have always tried to leverage a celebrity's popularity to drive support for a candidate, but they typically did so in traditional campaign venues: pre-rally concerts, big-dollar fundraisers or local events.

  • But trying to corral a celebrity's Instagram followers — and meet them where they are — is another example of how technology is altering campaigns.
  • The goal is to do one a day for the rest of the month and beyond.
  • Conversations are short — only 20 minutes — and both the celebrities and the campaign will promote the chats beforehand.

The big picture: The Trump campaign is proud of its digital presence and all but chuckles at any attempt to take on @realDonaldTrump in the asymmetrical warfare of social media.

  • "The Trump campaign is speaking to their base," said Elrod. "We are expanding our reach, tapping into our supporters' networks and growing support for the Vice President's message.”

Be smart: In the modern era, we’ve never had two candidates who aren’t just diametrically opposed on most policy issues, but are running totally different campaigns.

  • It's also rare to have this many celebrities working to get the incumbent out of office, with so many ways to reach their fans.

Go deeper

Joe Biden is the luckiest, least scrutinized frontrunner

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

Eight months ago, Joe Biden was in danger of losing the Democratic nomination. Now he's a prohibitive favorite for president — who got there with lots of luck and shockingly little scrutiny.

Why it matters: The media's obsession with Trump — and Trump's compulsion to dominate the news — allowed Biden to purposely and persistently minimize public appearances and tough questions.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden launches ad blitz targeting seniors

Screenshot via Biden campaign

Ahead of a Joe Biden speech on Tuesday in Broward County, Fla., on his "vision for older Americans," the campaign is launching "Looks Out," a seniors-targeted ad featuring a testimonial from Mike Miller, a Michigan steelworker, about the importance of protecting Social Security.

What Mike's saying: "Them guys think it's Monopoly money? Nah. It's our money. We worked for it. ... You don't get to play with my security for my family. Joe Biden looks out for the little guy."

48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.