May 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Buttigieg campaign adviser: Biden going virtual could kill traditional presidential runs

Photo: JoeBiden.com via Getty Images

Lis Smith, Pete Buttigieg's former campaign spokesperson, argued in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday that Joe Biden's move to virtual campaigning amid the coronavirus crisis could lead to "the death of the traditional presidential campaign."

What she's saying: Smith argues that Biden, at age 77, "can become the hottest bad boy and disrupter in the media game" by becoming "digitally omnipresent." That move, "at a small fraction of the cost and physical toll" of a normal campaign, could "create a new paradigm for how presidential campaigns communicate in the press for years to come."

  • "Mr. Biden’s greatest asset as a campaigner is his palpable empathy. Politicians can learn a lot of tricks — talking points, debate and interview strategies — but personal warmth is something that cannot be taught. It also happens to be a trait that translates well on TV."

The big picture: She also says that the crisis should be used to rethink traditional convention programming, saying it "puts even political junkies to sleep."

  • She suggests "mini-documentaries on the state of America under Mr. Trump" and using "the creativity of Hollywood and grassroots supporters alike to offer exclusive content like musical performances from in-demand artists and episodes of hit TV shows."

The state of play: Smith points out that President Trump is the "heavyweight champion of generating media attention." She argues that Biden will have to attempt to match his media prowess by "being willing to go everywhere, as Mr. Trump was in 2016."

  • She says that "it is an indication of the president’s weakness four years later that he sticks to the safety of Fox News, Sean Hannity’s show and Twitter."
  • "Trump’s freewheeling moments in appearances that do reach a broader audience, as in the daily coronavirus briefings, have exposed him as unfit, like his recent suggestion to treat COVID-19 with disinfectant."

Go deeper: Biden to test local virtual campaign events

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Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

In photos: Protests intensify across the U.S. over George Floyd's death

Protesters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 29. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Mass protests in Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C., sparked clashes with police on Friday, as demonstrators demanded justice for the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after at least one police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

The big picture: The officer involved in the killing of Floyd was charged with third-degree murder on Friday, after protests continued in Minneapolis for three days.

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.