Mar 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

A campaign season without crowds

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Cancelled rallies, debates with no audiences, contingency plans for conventions and ballot-casting: this is campaigning in the age of coronavirus.

The state of play: President Trump declared coronavirus a national emergency. Trump, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders all cancelled large-scale events this week and rolled out coronavirus policy platforms.

  • Louisiana is postponing the state's Democratic primary until the summer.
  • Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez told Axios' Jonathan Swan in an HBO interview taped March 9 that he has no plans to cancel this summer's convention in Milwaukee. But the DNC is monitoring the situation "every single day."
  • Tomorrow's Democratic debate moved from Arizona to CNN's Washington studio with no live audience, and Univision's Jorge Ramos withdrew as a moderator because he may have been exposed to the virus.

The bottom line: Politics is fundamentally about engaging people. This is America's biggest test of what it means to campaign without crowds in the modern age — whether disenfranchisement and lower turnout are inevitable, or virtual interactions can fill the void.

Go deeper: Margaret and Dan Primack discuss the impact on campaigning on Pro Rata.

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Joe Biden wins the endorsement of the National Education Association

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a March 8 campaign event in Tougaloo, Mississippi. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was endorsed by the National Education Association Saturday night.

Why it matters: The endorsement by the largest labor union in the United States comes the night before the former vice president's Democratic presidential debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders in CNN's Washington studio, which will take place with no live audience as a preventative measure against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Rep. Clyburn: DNC should "step in" for Biden after Tuesday's contests

Biden shakes hands with Clyburn on Feb. 26 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) called for the Democratic National Committee to pave the way for Vice President Joe Biden to win the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, NPR reports.

What's happening: Biden is the projected winner of the Democratic presidential primary in Michigan, the biggest contest of the night, as well as in Mississippi and Missouri. Voters are still casting ballots in Idaho, North Dakota, and Washington.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DNC chair urges states to expand voting options amid coronavirus outbreak

Tom Perez. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez on Tuesday advised states to expand mail-in and early-voting options amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, The Hill reports.

Where it stands: The Trump administration implored people not to gather in groups greater than 10, and lawmakers nationwide are encouraging citizens to remain in their homes to prevent contracting or spreading COVID-19. Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana and Puerto Rico have pushed back their originally scheduled primary dates, as Florida, Illinois and Arizona move forward as planned with Tuesday's primaries.