Photo: 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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Scoop: Inside Trump's debate prep

Trump and Christie. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Two weekends ago, President Trump met with a group of his closest aides in the conference room of his Bedminster golf club to discuss a subject that has been weighing heavily on his mind: the three scheduled debates with Joe Biden.

Behind the scenes: In the room with Trump were his son-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior adviser Jason Miller, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who role-played Hillary Clinton in Trump's 2016 debate prep sessions.

Tech's reluctant road to taking on Trump

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and a looming election have brought long-simmering conflicts between tech platforms and President Trump to a boil, as Facebook, Twitter and other services are starting to take presidential misinformation seriously.

What's happening: Wary of becoming arbiters of political speech, tech's platforms have carved out a range of exceptions and immunities for Trump and other political leaders — but that accommodation is coming undone.

Trump trounces Biden in campaign site traffic, thanks to far-right outlets

Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Traffic to President Trump's presidential campaign website is more than 4x greater than traffic to Joe Biden's presidential campaign website, thanks in large part to traffic referrals from right-wing outlets like The Gateway Pundit and Citizen Free Press, according to data from SimilarWeb.

Why it matters: The data speaks to the enormous role the far-right web plays in promoting the president's ideas and his re-election campaign.