Trump, Biden Campaigns Take Different Approaches

Nine battleground states have gained attention from Trump and Biden

The two main political parties have had to change their campaigning strategies and traditional events this year due to safety concerns of the COVID-19 virus. Both the Trump-Pence and Biden-Harris campaigns have taken different approaches to their campaigns this year.

President Donald Trump’s campaign has largely continued its in-person rallies as it had in pre-coronavirus times. However, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has taken a different approach to his campaign, citing concerns over “super-spreader events” and public safety.

Both candidates, whether through virtual events, in-person rallies or roundtables, have focused their campaigning on key battleground states where the two candidates are polling closely. These states were narrowly decided in the 2016 election. These key battleground states include Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In June, President Trump held two campaign rallies — one in Tulsa, OK and the other in Phoenix, AZ. After Trump’s Tulsa rally, public health officials criticized him for holding a large in-person event which likely caused a coronavirus outbreak.

Trump refrained from campaigning for nearly two months until August when he continued his in-person rally events. In August, Trump held rallies in five cities including Mankato, MN; Oshkosh, WI; Yuma, AZ; Old Forge, PA; and Londonderry, NH.

This month, Trump has held campaign rallies in Latrobe, PA; Winston-Salem, NC; Freeland, MI; Minden, NV; Henderson, NV; Mosinee, WI; and Bemidji, MN. At Trump’s rallies, few attendees wore masks and there was little-to-no social distancing taking place. 

Despite state guidelines in states such as Nevada and North Carolina that limit social gatherings to 50 people, the Trump campaign defied these state guidelines to hold campaign rallies under the guise of First Amendment rights.

“People have a First Amendment right, if they so choose to express their political opinion in the form of a peaceful protest. If you’re allowed to march in aggregate, you are also allowed to show up at a political rally,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

Unlike Trump’s campaign, Biden has done much of his campaigning from his home in Delaware, where he has given virtual speeches. Biden has begun to return to the traditional campaign trail strategies this month, holding smaller, more socially-distanced events in Harrisburg, PA; Tampa, FL; Kissimmee, FL; Scranton, PA and Duluth, MN.

Biden hosted a CNN town hall event near Scranton, PA where attendees spread out in their cars, similar to viewing a drive-in movie. The event was moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Biden faced questions from voters in the parking lot of PNC Field in Moosic, PA. 

Biden has also begun airing political advertisements in the key battleground states, as part of $280 million for television and digital advertisement reservations according to the Biden campaign.

There have also been differences in fundraising for candidates during the pandemic. Both presidential candidates did virtual fundraising events throughout the summer, and both candidates raised more in August than former President Obama’s 2008 one-month fundraising record.

The Trump campaign returned to its normal in-person events and raised $210 million in August, while the Biden campaign stuck to its virtual strategy and raised a record-setting $364.5 million last month. Biden is currently outspending Trump on television advertisements. 

With the Nov. 3, election only 40 days away, both presidential and vice-presidential candidates, their significant others and family members have been increasing their campaigning and campaign spending. Trump plans to continue his in-person events and Biden is slowly starting to show his physical face to his potential voters.

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