Entering a new era of campaigning

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has laid it on the line.

He is going to campaign for the presidency without any massive rallies. There will be none of those events with admirers crammed together, cheering themselves hoarse at pronouncements coming from their guy on the podium.

Donald Trump isn’t ready to make that pledge. Why? Because he prefers the campaign rallies where he is able to stand at a podium and deliver his incessant, incoherent riffs on this and/or that issue or perceived opponent.

I submit that the COVID-19 Pandemic Era has ushered in a new style of campaigning, with social media becoming even more prevalent than before.

Trump had that rally in Tulsa, Okla. He promised a huge crowd. It didn’t materialize. He had to take down an outdoor venue set up to handle an “overflow” crowd that never showed up. The sparse turnout angered Trump. It has created gossip about a campaign shakeup on the horizon.

Whatever. Biden’s view is that the age of big-time campaign rallies is over … at least while the nation fights the pandemic that so far is still running rampant from coast to coast to coast.

Just between you and me, we’ll be fighting this disease long after they count the presidential election ballots, which gives me hope that Biden’s strategy is the smart strategy.

There has been a lot of talk about the “new normal” arising from the pandemic. We’re wearing masks in public. We’re keeping our distance from strangers. We aren’t shaking hands when we meet friends. We aren’t embracing when we see loved ones.

Nor will we be standing shoulder-to-shoulder among crowds of strangers cheering the candidates of our choice.

To be frank, I am having trouble grasping how this will play out. I am still trying to fathom the notion of a “virtual” presidential nominating convention. Democrats will nominate Biden in a virtual event; Republicans will nominate Trump who will speak to a crowd in Jacksonville, Fla., after the GOP gathering was moved from Charlotte, N.C., because the North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wouldn’t clear the event out of fear of spreading the virus.

But … here we are. It’s a new day in a new era and with a new set of circumstances that are far beyond our ability to control at the moment. It has changed the way our politicians campaign for public office.

Given that I am slowly becoming a 21st-century man, I welcome the change with hope that it will produce new national leadership.

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