President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies have become a staple to his brand and image.
But with the coronavirus outbreak shutting down these high-energy gatherings, many of Trump’s enemies are predicting that the lack of live, in-person rallies will prevent him from being re-elected this November.
According to a report from Newsmax, the Trump campaign said it needed just 24 hours to switch into virtual mode after coronavirus lockdowns ended his signature rallies.
But for Joe Biden and his team, who thrives on the personal connection of retail politics, the transition is taking much longer.
According to the report, Trump’s operation dominates the digital space in no small part thanks to the presidential bully pulpit and his massive Twitter presence. But Biden, a month after the pandemic forced him off the trail, has yet to beef up his digital team and is still working to expand his outreach to quarantined voters.
During the Democratic primaries, Biden was able to snag the nomination with a ‘traditional’ campaign even as rivals like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders relied on innovative technology to reach supporters during the Democratic primary season.
But as of last week, Biden has hired NO new staff with expertise in digital politics, the Biden campaign said, instead relying on existing aides.
In fact, Biden’s digital director, Rob Flaherty, acknowledged that the campaign has to catch up.
“This month has given us a good opportunity to figure out where there are needs and where we need to fill in holes,” Flaherty said in an interview. “We’re going to grow in time but for now we’re drinking from the fire hose but still punching way above weights.”
According to the report, the Biden team has just now started to play catch-up with the digital campaigning. He’s held virtual town halls, hosting family-oriented YouTube users and started an interactive broadcast with coronavirus frontline workers. And according to the Biden campaign, his video content has reached 52 million viewers over the past month.
Meanwhile Trump, harnessing the power of incumbency and without the distraction of a primary challenger, jumped all over the digital campaigning. He launched virtual rallies, some with popular surrogates like Donald Trump Jr. Other virtual events cater to specific constituencies, like Women for Trump, Black Voices for Trump and Latinos for Trump. The groups have their own accounts across social media channels. By the end of April, the campaign plans to hold about 90 of these coalition specific events to get access to new volunteers, donors and data.
Additionally, on social media, Biden is getting ‘trumped’ by Trump. He has 4.9 million followers on Twitter, compared to Trump’s 77 million and even Sanders’s 11.8 million. The Team Trump Twitter account, his campaign’s voice on the platform, has 1.6 million followers, while Team Joe has about 50,000.
On Instagram, Biden trails Trump by 17 million followers while on Facebook, Trump has garnered 24 million likes more than Biden.
Get used to seeing a lot more of Trump… even if he can’t hold his traditional rallies.
And as for Biden, he has A LOT of work to do.
No matter how well organized they are, we will be better organized. No matter how well they have concealed their activities, we will root them out.
Today, Federal investigation and enforcement of our narcotics laws are fragmented. One major element—the Bureau of Narcotics—is in the Treasury Department and responsible for the control of marihuana and narcotics such as heroin. Another—the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control—is in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and is responsible for the control of dangerous drugs including depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens such as LSD.
Neither is located in the agency which is primarily concerned with Federal law enforcement—the Department of Justice.
This separation of responsibilities—despite the relentless and dedicated efforts of the agents of each Bureau—has complicated and hindered our response to a national menace.
For example, more than nine out of ten seizures of LSD made by the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control have also turned up marihuana—but that Bureau has no jurisdiction over marihuana.
In many instances, we are confronted by well organized disciplined and resourceful criminals who reap huge profits at the expense of their unfortunate victims.
The response of the Federal Government must be unified. And it must be total.
Today, in my Message on Crime, I recommended strong new laws to control dangerous drugs. I also recommended an increase of more than thirty percent in the number of Federal agents enforcing the narcotic and dangerous drug laws.
I now propose that a single Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs be established in the Department of Justice to administer those laws and to bring to the American people the most efficient and effective Federal enforcement machinery we can devise.
Under this Reorganization Plan the Attorney General will have full authority and responsibility for enforcing the Federal laws relating to narcotics and dangerous drugs. The new Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, to be headed by a Director appointed by the Attorney General, will:
—consolidate the authority and preserve the experience and manpower of the Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control.
—work with states and local governments in their crackdown on illegal trade in drugs and narcotics, and help to train local agents and investigators.
—maintain worldwide operations, working closely with other nations, to suppress the trade in illicit narcotics and marihuana.
—conduct an extensive campaign of research and a nationwide public education program on drug abuse and its tragic effects.
The Plan I forward today moves in the direction recommended by two distinguished groups:
—1949 Hoover Commission.
—the 1963 Presidential Advisory Commission on Narcotic and Drug Abuse.
This Administration and this Congress have the will and the determination to stop the illicit traffic in drugs.
But we need more than the will and the determination. We need a modern and efficient instrument of Government to transform our plans into action. That is what this Reorganization Plan calls for.
The Plan has been prepared in accordance with chapter 9 of title 5 of the United States Code.
I have found, after investigation, that each reorganization included in the plan is necessary to accomplish one or more of the purposes set forth in section 901(a) of title 5 of the United States Code.
I have also found that, by reason of these reorganizations, it is necessary to include in the accompanying plan provisions for the appointment and compensation of the five new positions as specified in section 3 of the plan. The rates of compensation fixed for these new positions are those which I have found to prevail in respect of comparable positions in the Executive Branch of the Government.
Should the reorganization I propose take effect, they will make possible more effective and efficient administration of Federal law enforcement functions. It is not practicable at this time, however, to itemize the reduction in expenditures which may result.
I recommend that the Congress allow this urgently needed and important Reorganization Plan to become effective.
Lyndon B. Johnson.
The White House, February 7, 1968