'There Is No Playbook': How Trump And Biden Are Trying To Run Virtual Campaigns During Coronavirus

President Donald Trump’s campaign has ridiculed rival Democrat Joe Biden for remaining cloistered during the pandemic, forced to give speeches, meet activists and raise money almost entirely from the seclusion of his basement in Wilmington, Delaware.

But as precautions and concerns about COVID-19 have grown, Trump has also halted his signature rallies at least temporarily and started his own virtual gatherings to keep in touch with voters.

“It’s totally different," said Ford O’Connell, adjunct professor at George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management who has worked on Republican campaigns including the late Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential run. "There is no playbook to campaigning in the coronavirus era."

"Trump likes the rallies because for him it’s about energizing his followers and his folks tend to evangelize their friends, families and neighbors," O'Connell said. "I think not being able to campaign has taken a greater toll on Trump than the Biden folks."

Read more from Bart Jansen at USA TODAY

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Pelosi Wants To Play Gutter Politics: Ford O'Connell

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell says Democrats expect the national media to throw them softball questions and will 'blame and shame' journalists for asking hard questions.



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Democrats Don’t Want Barr To Look Into ‘Trump-Russia Hoax’

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell argues Democrats want presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden to win so the Durham probe will never come out.

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Trump Attempts Shift In Tone On Gloomy Election Polls

With just over three months to go until November’s presidential election, Donald Trump is trying a new tactic: humility.

With more and more national opinion polls giving Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, a widening lead over Mr Trump, the president returned to the White House podium last week for his first coronavirus press briefing in nearly three months with a markedly different tone.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who is close to the Trump campaign, said the White House “wants to make the case that [the president] is leading the charge to combat the coronavirus and save American lives”. “It is all about being front and centre on the coronavirus,” Mr O’Connell said. “If President Trump continues to make coronavirus briefings as he did this week, where he is succinct, realistic and informative . . . not only will the key voters he needs come home to him . . . but many other voters will be far more receptive to his messages concerning Biden.”

Read more from Lauren Fedor at the Financial Times 

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Democrats Can Claim Moderate Policies, But They’re Pushing Socialism

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell says there’s a civil war going on in the Democratic Party between the more traditional moderates and the progressives.

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Trump, Facing Trouble In Florida, Goes All In

President Trump is pulling out all the stops in Florida ahead of November as polls there show him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden

Trump is going all-in to repeat his 2016 success in the country's biggest swing state, but polls indicate he has an uphill climb ahead.

The president has also become more vocal about the importance of wearing face masks in public spaces, posting a picture of himself wearing one on Twitter this week and calling it “patriotic.” 

“I think where the Trump administration wants to improve their messaging is they want to make sure that Floridians, particularly seniors and those in the suburbs, [know] that the president is doing everything he can,” Florida-based GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told The Hill. 

“He wants to make sure they know, and that he’s putting the coronavirus front and center,” he said. “I think if he gets over that hurdle in Florida with how they perceive him handling the coronavirus, which he can do from the White House bully pulpit, then he will be in a lot better standing in Florida.”

Read more from Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester at The Hill

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The Risk For Trump Running As The 'Law And Order' Candidate: He Is In Charge

Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign aide Boris Epshteyn retweeted images of Portland burning with a similar message: This is Joe Biden’s America.

Then came the rejoinders: But Donald Trump is president.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Trump needs to keep taking his message straight to the public, with “succinct, realistic, and informative” briefings. “Then not only will key voters come home to him because they will see him as front and center in the battle against the virus, but they and others will be far more receptive to his messages concerning Biden being a figurehead for the far-left of the Democratic Party and the need for law and order in our cities,” O’Connell said.

Read more from W. James Antle III and Rob Crilly at the Washington Examiner

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Trump Takes Back The Spotlight In Coronavirus Briefings

The White House daily coronavirus briefings are back. But this reboot of the spring's hottest television series has shed the supporting cast and thrust President Trump back into his starring role, this time as more of a solo act.

Supporters believe the administration has a compelling story to tell. "From fast-tracking a vaccine to making sure the governors have necessary supplies to delivering needed support to hot spot states around the country to even recommending masks, President Trump is leading the charge to combat the coronavirus and save American lives, but that message is not reaching many voters," O'Connell said. "The reason is simple: Many in the national media, along with the Democratic leadership, have nefariously gaslighted the general population into thinking the bubonic plague is outside their front door and that President Trump is solely to blame."

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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The Memo: Democrats Feel Rising Tide In Florida

Democratic hopes are rising for a victory in Florida in November’s presidential election — an outcome that would make President Trump’s path to reelection vanishingly narrow.

Republicans believe they still have leverage in the state, and not just because a general economic comeback is possible.

GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, a native of Naples, Fla., acknowledged that Biden was not as “toxic” as Clinton had been for some Florida voters in 2016. But, he argued, Trump still had time to “draw a contrast with Biden and really define him” — especially on the issue of immigration.

The idea that a hard line on immigration would doom Trump in Florida is not necessarily true, as the 2016 result showed. A new poll from Latino Decisions on Friday found the president’s job approval with Florida Latinos at 45 percent and his approval at 55 percent — not spectacular but not disastrous either.

Much can change in the next four months. But the stakes are in no doubt. When it comes to the election, Florida could be the whole ballgame.

“If Trump loses Florida, he’s done,” said O’Connell. “If he wins, he keeps on fighting.”

Read more from Niall Stanage at The Hill

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Biden And Trump Battle Over 'Made In America' Economic Agenda

In 2016 President Donald Trump won over a large portion of working-class voters with an "America First" economic agenda, promising to bring back jobs and manufacturing to the United States. In 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden has made a similar pitch to voters, promising to invest $700 billion in American goods and labor to spur an economic recovery.

Like many campaign promises, Biden's "Buy American" blueprint was short on details. It is primarily a "political document," argued Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.

"This is about narratives and themes," O'Connell said. "Imitation to this degree illustrates just how strong Trump's 'America First' economic message is and how fearful the Biden campaign is of it at the ballot box."

"It's clear the Biden campaign is saying we need to find a way to cut into Trump's lead on this," O'Connell continued. "The better the economy does, the better the handling of the coronavirus seems to be in October, the better for Donald Trump."

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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