If there is a silver lining hiding somewhere in the coronavirus cloud, it’s that we’re seeing a lot less of Joe Biden.
Quarantining himself at his family home in Delaware is the best, safest thing Biden can do personally, because at 77 years of age, he is in the high-risk group for serious complications if he were to contract COVID-19.
But it’s turning into a disaster for him politically. Because he does not currently hold an elected position, Biden has no official role in the ongoing efforts to address the global pandemic that has already infected tens of thousands of Americans.
President Trump is Reassuring Americans
This means Joe Biden is still waiting in the wings while President Donald Trump claims the spotlight and commands the center stage. As a result, it’s the President’s message that’s being heard, not Biden’s.
This situation plays right to the President’s strengths — self-promotion and the selling of an idea.
Despite the changes to their daily lives and the uncertainty about what comes next, Americans are generally optimistic that they’ll get through this. They feel that they’re going to be okay because President Trump is there, giving them regular updates and telling them just that.
Saikat Chakrabarti, who formerly served as the Chief of Staff for Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, says, “(President Trump) is the only one going up every day and talking to the American people.”
This is precisely why the President’s approval rating has actually gone up significantly in the last few weeks. In fact, this is the first time since he took office that more people approve of his performance than disapprove.
Fewer Appearances Doesn’t Equal Fewer Mistakes
And while Joe Biden hasn’t gone completely away yet, he does himself no favors when he does manage to wrangle an appearance. He’s given stumbling answers to questions, lost his train of thought, and even been heavily criticized for not observing proper safeguards to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus.
During an interview on CNN, Biden coughed repeatedly into his fist, instead of directing his coughs to the crook of his elbow. And although the ex-Vice President told the host, Jake Trapper, that he had no coronavirus symptoms, he also admitted that he had not been tested. This earned him a scolding from Trapper.
The presumptive Democratic nominee is not exactly setting the example for the rest of the country, and he is definitely not inspiring, not in any sense of the word.
At this point, Biden is virtually marginalized, because simply remotely sniping at President Trump from afar just isn’t going to cut it, and hoping that the President is going to catastrophically botch the current situation isn’t exactly a sound campaign strategy.
Chakrabarti says, “He’s making himself irrelevant. We need action immediately, and Biden can’t do anything real right now.”
Biden’s Precarious Position
If he breaks quarantine and gets back out there again, he sends the message that the rules don’t apply to him. That could alienate private citizens who aren’t able to work or lead normal social lives.
If he criticizes the President too much, he runs the risk of being seen as an impotent outsider who thinks he knows more than he actually does. Remember, Biden has no official role, so he’s not receiving the same briefings and information that President Trump is.
And if he stays in the background, it becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” situation.
Once again, President Trump has outmaneuvered an opponent, putting himself in an excellent strategic position as November draws nearer. And he’s done it without mentioning the election at all.