The Trump campaign is portraying Joe Biden’s VP pick as his “political living will,” saying that he is merely a transition to the next Democrat by refusing to commit to a second term.
The new strategy of Team Trump is to paint Biden as a “puppet” of the radical left, and their internal polling is showing the strategy is beginning to resonate with voters, setting the campaign up to attack the new vice presidential candidate.
Trump campaign officials are frustrated that Biden’s “very unfavorables” aren’t as high as they’d like them. Voters don’t intensely despise him the way many despised Hillary Clinton. And several Trump advisers have told me they doubt they can find a line of attack that will make Biden as hated as Clinton was in 2016.
Instead, Team Trump is trying to persuade voters that if they vote for Biden, they’re not actually electing this amiable, moderate old man. The only way they believe they can sufficiently toxify Biden is to convince voters that he’s an empty vessel to be filled by the policies of the “radical left.”
This is why the Trump campaign has spent much time harping on the policy partnerships with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and why this weekend they attacked Karen Bass as a potential pick, citing her public comments sympathetic to Fidel Castro.
This strategy makes Biden’s VP pick especially important for Team Trump, advisers say. If Biden’s running mate is hard to depict as a wild-eyed radical, this empty vessel strategy won’t pack the same punch.
But if Biden picks a VP mate whose “unfavorability” rating is higher than Biden’s, the Trump campaign will be painting her as who we are actually electing president, a Democratic bogey-woman.
The Biden team response?
Andrew Bates, director of rapid response, said, “The American people know Joe Biden. And after seven consecutive months of failed leadership during the worst public health crisis in generations, they know that our nation’s capacity to join the rest of the world in beating back COVID-19 has been crippled by one overriding burden: Donald Trump.”
“That’s why the Trump campaign is locked in a sad and pathetic cycle of bimonthly, shambolic message ‘resets’ — all of which are based on the same recycled lies that voters have seen through countless times before.”
Story at Axios.