Politics2020 Election


Democrats Anxious About Impact COVID-19 Having On Biden Campaign

Democrats worry that the coronavirus threatening the country's health may also be threatening their chances to defeat President Trump.
Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 02, 2020

A campaign once filled with big rallies and decisive primary victories has been relegated to a basement in Delaware thanks to the coronavirus. 

That's left some Democrats worried the pandemic threatening the country is also threatening their chances of defeating President Donald Trump. 

"The Biden campaign is facing two things that people haven't had to face before. First of all, the questions around whether we're going to have a general election and how it's going to play out. And the second thing is we still don't really know how he's going to finish the primary and become the Democratic nominee," said Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg. "These are hugely disruptive things for any campaign to deal with."

More than a dozen states have postponed primaries -- most pushing back until May or June as officials scramble to figure out how voters can cast ballots safely both now and in the fall. 

That's stalled Joe Biden's delegate lead, and lessened pressure on rival Bernie Sanders to exit the race. 

It has also cost the Biden campaign exposure at a time when President Trump has seen an uptick in approval amid the coronavirus response. 

And another headwind for the campaign -- fundraising as the economy takes a downturn. 

"There are people who would give in the past who frankly can't give now. They're worried about the economy, they're worried about their families," said Michael Kempner, a Democratic fundraiser. 

Kempner has co-hosted two virtual fundraisers for Biden with more in the works. 

"It's not exactly the same but you do feel like he knows you were on the phone, he knows you were on the call, you've had an interaction and as people get more and more used to these, they're going to feel good about them," he said. 

The full financial impact on the Biden campaign is not yet known. But Act Blue, the tool Democrats use to raise money online, told Newsy in the last two weeks of March it saw a 13 percent drop in fundraising for House candidates, and a six percent drop for Senate hopefuls. 

Republican candidates face the same challenges. But the campaign coffers of President Trump and the Republican National Committee dwarf what Biden has in the bank. 

Democrats, however, feel confident Biden will have the resources he needs to compete in November. And many say any potential bump the president sees for his handling of the pandemic will fade. 

"I think in general, the landscape favors the Democratic Party. But, boy do we have a long way to go. And this is going to be an extraordinary year for the country and an extraordinary political year ahead," said Rosenberg.