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

Go deeper

Biden and Harris start joint coronavirus briefings

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris joined Joe Biden on Thursday for a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic led by four doctors and one of Biden’s senior advisors — marking the new Democratic ticket's first official day of work.

The big picture: Biden said that he receives these briefings — “on the state of coronavirus here and around the world” — four times a week, and noted that they usually last between an hour and an hour and a half. It's not yet clear how many frequently Biden and Harris will be briefed.

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Harris boosting Biden ticket with key voters

Data: SurveyMonkey poll of 2,847 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11–12, 2020 with ±3% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Kamala Harris is accomplishing what Joe Biden's campaign hoped she would in her first two days as his running mate — doing no harm, while exciting parts of the base with whom Biden needs the most help.

The big picture: Black women especially, but also Black men, Hispanics and Democrats and independents across the board say they are more likely to vote for Biden with Harris on the ticket, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Climate change isn't a top issue for 2020 voters

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Climate isn't top of mind for the electorate in the 2020 presidential race, but Pew Research Center polling also signals how the topic is likely to surface in the months ahead.

Why it matters: Joe Biden has tethered his proposed low-carbon energy and infrastructure investments to his wider economic recovery message.