Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

The campaign shakeup Biden needed

By 37ci3 May22,2024

Whatever happens in the first debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, it’s guaranteed to be one of the most moving moments of the campaign. Depending on the performance of either or both, holding an early debate in June could be the most impactful decision of this campaign.

To claim we are in uncharted waters or uncharted territory is a bit of an understatement. But make no mistake, the trajectory of this race for Biden — combined with external events currently working against the incumbent, namely inflation and Israel’s military operation in Gaza — was unsustainable, so the Biden campaign had to do something. change it.

It’s possible that Biden could wait until the previously scheduled debates in September or October to hope for a game-changing moment. But that would be cutting it close.

Waiting until the fall to better contrast Trump would have limited his ability to call the buzz if Plan A didn’t work. Biden had to shake up this race before the summer season of conventions and Olympics.

Ultimately, Biden’s goal is not just to change race, but to change the perception of it. Last week, I wrote the following On voters’ perceptions of weakness from Biden and strength from Trump:

“Can the Biden campaign solve this image problem? Given our short attention span information ecosystem, one might assume there is always time to change perception, but it is becoming more difficult.

“The most obvious way to try to improve Biden’s perception of vulnerability is to take him out more often and in less controlled places. Although he is more on the sidelines, he is still limited in his unscripted public appearances.

I wasn’t thinking about the June debate when I was thinking about the different ways Biden could pass. But this is one of the best options you can think of to talk to the whole country before the fall.

Thanks to the fragmentation of the media, we don’t have many shared experiences as a country outside of huge sporting events — the Super Bowls and the Olympics — or rare historical anomalies like this year’s eclipse.

Arguably, presidential elections and presidential debates are the only other events outside of the non-sports world that capture the attention of most Americans in one space.

School will be out at the end of June, and while some people may be focusing on their summer plans, the entire country will see at least some of this clash between Trump and Biden. It is very important and our politics is so divided. Everyone will want to know how it will turn out.

There have been many excellent speculative analyzes of the potential ramifications of this decision for early discussion. Some believe that the Biden campaign did this to reduce the importance and impact of the debates, agreeing to an early one in exchange for reducing the debate order from three to two.

Some believe the Trump campaign was too quick to accept Biden’s wishes. After all, how often do you get to play an incumbent’s “debate opponent”? This usually only happens when the official in question falls behind. Does Trump really think the debates helped him? He clearly does, but the data suggests otherwise.

Perhaps the reason both Biden and Trump want this early debate is that both fear the Commission on Presidential Debates will qualify Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to participate in the fall events. By going this early, both candidates are taking a one-on-one shot at each other, assuming he can pick up enough votes by the fall and qualify on the ballot with a sustained 15% support level before settling on Kennedy. .

An early debate also gives the Biden and Trump campaigns more time to recalibrate before their respective conventions, making it significantly less likely that one debate will end their campaigns. A bad debate performance in the fall can be more politically disastrous than, say, the week before the Fourth of July.

And of course, going early doesn’t preclude more discussions in the fall. If Biden suddenly thinks he needs more debate, perhaps the Commission is calling, ending his previously scheduled September and October debates.

There’s one more technicality to planning an early debate: If the debate is a total failure for one of them, each side technically There is a time and process to change candidates. After all, this first debate will take place before both candidates become the official candidates of their respective parties.

But the scenario I’m most interested in is one where I’m not sure both campaigns are fully accounted for. It is likely that the country simply hates what it sees. If the argument is two-year-old boys swearing at each other – which one almost occurred in the debates four years ago—voters could be even more depressed about their choices for the fall. There’s no telling what the butterfly effect will be like after that.

Will there be a cry for someone else? Arguably, fewer Democrats than Republicans currently seem committed to their presumptive nominees. Could disappointment in major party pairings lead to more interest in Kennedy? What if he turns 20 in the summer vote? If the threat of Kennedy’s inclusion didn’t kill the rest of the debate, it would guarantee that the second debate would be a three-way showdown.

Bottom line: This discussion will be very important. And there are now more likely than past debates to have unintended consequences that neither campaign could have foreseen. So buckle up, because what we thought was going to be a potentially mind-blowing campaign of about 60 days in the fall now begins about three months in advance. So I carry more Tums with me than usual.

The deep end of politics

Perhaps the most overlooked development of this new debate calendar is the prospect of an incredibly early vice presidential debate. Although the Biden and Trump campaigns have now accepted invitations from rival networks. The proposed dates are in late July, meaning there could be less than two weeks between being selected for the GOP vice presidential nomination and being on the debate stage with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Interestingly, Trump was forced to choose his running mate near the beginning of July, just to have enough time to prepare for his selection (and also to familiarize himself with the country). If Trump waits until the eve of the convention, for example, he’s really putting a lot of pressure on his vice presidential nominee to be ready on day one.

A poor debate performance (or “deer-in-the-headlights” performance) in the first 10 days after the GOP nomination is announced will be difficult to recover from if the pick has yet to connect with the public. If the debate is an introduction, it really raises the stakes for the candidate in question.

The smart thing for Team Trump is to force him to announce his pick before July 1st. This, of course, runs counter to Trump’s love of drama, and less interest in the event if the choice isn’t in doubt at the start of the convention. And Trump cares about those things more than most candidates for office.

Service card

Sometimes an idea seems so simple and clever that you wonder why you haven’t heard of it before.

I recently participated in an interesting discussion where female CEOs talked about what they’ve learned and their experiences trying to create more gender equality in the world of work. One CEO spoke, half-heartedly, about giving his employees a benefit he referred to as a “care wallet.” That wallet would have money and benefits they controlled and could focus on needs that might be unique to them. It can be used for self-care (think mental health), childcare, or elder care. (Hello, fellow sandwich generation!)

The second I heard it, a light bulb went off in my political mind. It’s a great way to build broad consensus on solutions to real challenges for today’s families in all three areas mentioned above. It’s an idea that should and could go mainstream quickly.

I’ve seen several politicians talk about different versions of all these benefits, and there are certainly millions of Americans who could use help in all three areas. But I thought it was a smarter and more accessible way to argue that all Americans should have access to benefits (whether a job or a government plan) that allow them this kind of flexibility.

Not everyone needs childcare, not everyone needs elder care, and not everyone has mental health needs that require a professional. But I’m sure at least we all have one of these three needs.

Slogans can make complicated things seem simple, and I know a “care wallet” can do that. But consider me convinced that this is an idea that deserves consideration and consideration in the American political debate.

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By 37ci3

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