coronavirus

Pandemic Changes the Way Presidential Candidates Campaign

The Democratic and Republican national conventions are also in question

In this March 25, 2020, file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a virtual press briefing on a laptop computer in this arranged photograph in Arlington, Virginia.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Presidential candidates are changing the way they campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To put into perspective how much the world has changed, Super Tuesday was about a month ago. Former Vice President Joe Biden added substantially to his delegate total over Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and solidified support from some former candidates. Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke were all in Dallas with BidenHe continued to build support in the following weeks. But now the world has changed, and so has the election.

“It has really been dramatically transformed, like everything else in our society and our common life,” said Matthew Wilson, associate professor for political science at Southern Methodist University.

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President Donald Trump is no longer holding rallies, but he holds news conferences about the virus. Sunday, he talked about social distancing guidelines

"The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,” Trump said.

Biden has started a podcast. He has held virtual news conferences, taking on Trump's response to the virus.

Sanders has held virtual round tables and does not appear to be considering dropping out of the primary, even though he is behind.

“It is a very difficult time to criticize your opponent, which is what an underdog has to do, right, in order to make up ground," Wilson said. "An underdog really has to go on the attack. Sanders can't really do that. People are not dialed in and paying attention."

States like New York, rich in electoral votes, have postponed their primaries.

There is talk of mail-in voting.

"I think we should be looking to all mail ballots across the board to begin with, because it's an easier way for people to vote,” Biden said on Meet The Press.

There are also the questions of the Democratic and Republican national conventions. The Democrats are scheduled to hold theirs in July, with the Republicans following in August.

“I think there is essentially no chance for the Democratic convention, which was scheduled for July," Wilson said. "And even the Republican convention, which is slated for late August, is kind of a dicey proposition at this point, because they require a lot of lead time, and obviously those were events that bring together large numbers of people."

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