Coronavirus Influence on 2020 Campaigns

Coronavirus Influence on 2020 Campaigns

( – Nearly every American is making changes to their life as COVID-19 spreads. Many people are staying home more, out of work, and kids are now learning from home. Politicians are adapting to America’s new social and economic reality as well, especially the ones who are running 2020 presidential campaigns.

The Front-Runners Adapt

The outbreak of COVID-19 has already changed the Democratic presidential primary campaigns. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) shifted from public rallies to digital ones. The format of their last debate was changed, too. It went from a match-up in front of a live audience in Phoenix, AZ to an isolated CNN studio in Washington, DC.

With Biden in the lead, there have been numerous calls for Sanders to cancel his campaign. The senator said he’s not dropping out right now.

The former vice president recently called for future debates to be canceled in part due to the virus and also due to his lead. During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sanders said he doesn’t agree with Biden about the debates.

However, it’s not just the bigwig campaigns that have to adapt to COVID-19’s impacts on America.

Down-Ballot Candidates Change It Up

Down-ballot candidates aren’t holding public rallies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, either. Instead, they’re hosting virtual town halls and even using social media sites, like Facebook, as virtual offices to inform constituents. There’s only so many times that politicians can hold the same live-stream sharing their same political agenda, though. That’s why some candidates are changing up the content they provide during virtual town halls.

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), for instance, is doing a sort of nightly news program that covers more than just the campaign. Information about the coronavirus and how it’s impacting the politician’s area is a staple in these virtual meetings.

Some lawmakers, like Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), are self-quarantining after being in contact with someone who tested positive with the virus. The senator is asymptomatic. This switch to digital events is especially crucial for situations like this.

There’s also the concern that old campaign strategies many candidates rely on aren’t realistic. Some candidates are leery about running attack ads and potentially spreading misinformation given the current crisis.

Ultimately, the virus is making 2020 election outcomes difficult to predict.

If there’s one thing the coronavirus is proving, it’s that the online world is becoming more and more intertwined with the real one. Now more than ever is the time for unity, not division. For now, the internet seems to be a tool for unity, even with political adversaries vying to win over their constituents.

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