While there are still whispers that Joe Biden may not end up as the Democrats’ nominee for president, as of right now, he’s the de facto candidate. As for the Republican side, polls suggest that Donald Trump has an insurmountable lead, but could things change by the Iowa caucuses and Ron DeSantis emerge as the victor? Maybe. But for now, things look good for Donald Trump.
Polls suggest that voters aren’t particularly enthused about a 2020 rematch, but at the moment, that’s what it looks like we’re going to get, and not just in terms of who the candidates are.
In 2020, thanks to the pandemic, Joe Biden kept out of the public eye as much as possible, staying largely in his Delaware basement while Trump held rallies wherever he could. It made sense: Joe Biden is as exciting as watching paint dry, and Trump had all the energy.
But as I look ahead to the 2024 campaign, I not only predict a replay of Biden’s basement strategy, but I see Trump adopting a similar strategy.
According to a report from Axios, despite the lack of a public health emergency, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump “are both running basement-esque campaigns in 2024 — risk-averse operations favoring friendly media without many public campaign events.”
Axios notes that Trump has conducted fewer public events compared to his primary challengers, opting instead for a social media strategy, namely a slew of Instagram videos covering various issues. Joe Biden’s approach isn’t any better. He’s only done one campaign rally since he announced his reelection campaign back in April, and he seems to be limiting his public appearances to policy-focused presidential trips that are conveniently taxpayer-funded. So, congratulations: you are funding Biden’s campaign events. But even those are fewer than one might expect for someone trying to increase his exposure during a campaign.
“Both Biden and Trump are largely avoiding interviews except with mostly friendly media,” Axios observes. That’s amusing, considering how little media there is that is friendly to Trump. Despite an overwhelmingly friendly media for Biden, he’s only given four interviews the entire summer. The Biden campaign nevertheless insists that ol’ Joe is in this campaign full throttle. “The President is running an aggressive and thoughtful official and campaign schedule that is in line with previous incumbent presidents at this point in the election cycle,” Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told Axios.
Yeah, sure, okay.
Trump never gets a fair shot from the mainstream media, so, from where I sit, there’s little reason to claim that this is an apples-to-apples comparison. That said, it is concerning to see that both Biden and Trump appear to be playing things safe. In addition to the lack of media appearances, neither wants to participate in any primary debates.
Trump’s strategy may change in the general election, but Joe Biden’s won’t. Americans already think he’s too old, and he’s been so prone to gaffes and other incidents that raise doubts about his physical and mental health that he’s not about to get out there any more than what his campaign believes is the bare minimum necessary.
And that means, for the moment, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you’re not getting the campaign you deserve.