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Joe Biden Fades Into the Background Amidst the Coronavirus Crisis

Gettyimages | Scott Olson
By Robin Zabiegalski

Former Vice-President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden has had a difficult time claiming his spot as the top voice for the Democratic Party amidst the coronavirus crisis. After this decisive wins in the March 17th primaries, Biden all but disappeared for nearly a week, which is essentially forever in the world of the 24-hour news cycle.

Even after he reemerged, broadcasting on the Internet from his house in Delaware, Biden still struggled with becoming a commanding voice for the Party, something Democrats sorely need at this moment.

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The Democratic Primary On Hold

Door with a sign that says 'Polls Closed No Voting Here Today'
Gettyimages | Matthew Hatcher

Part of the reason Biden is stuck in limbo, struggling to establish himself as the presumptive leader of the Democratic party, is because the Democratic primary has essentially come to a halt. All of the states that were scheduled to vote in late March have postponed their primaries. Most of the states that vote in April have postponed theirs as well.

There are no campaign events to host, no canvassing to do, no primaries to prepare for, no hands to shake or babies to kiss. So, Biden is struggling to find his place in the current world where no one is paying attention to the primary because the coronavirus crisis is everyone's focus.

Technical Difficulties and Awkward Appearances

Two laptops
Gettyimages | Al Drago

The Biden campaign has also struggled to figure out how to establish a presence in a quarantined world. In the week after the March 17th primaries, the Biden campaign was nearly silent because they were struggling to figure out the technology that would allow them to live stream and communicate digitally with campaign staff and supporters.

Once they did figure out what they were doing, the results were pretty bad. Their virtual events and appearances have been riddled with glitches and awkward interactions.

Upstaged by Other Democrats

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Gettyimages | Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

Right now, Americans are looking for a strong, decisive leader to address the coronavirus crisis. As the candidate who will likely face off against Trump in the general election, Biden should be that leader for the Democratic Party and the number one voice against Trump's response to the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, his inability to figure out how to get his message out has left space for other leaders to emerge. New York's Governor, Andrew Cuomo, is the authoritative voice on the coronavirus right now. He's been handling the pandemic in New York, which has become the global hotspot for the virus, with grace and dignity. He's also been a key voice against Trump's response to the pandemic.

Biden's opponent, Bernie Sanders, has also emerged as a leader in the battle against coronavirus. As a sitting Senator, he's been instrumental in negotiating and passing the coronavirus relief packages that will help Americans survive the pandemic. And he's been constantly visible via live streams and his YouTube channel.

How is This Impacting His Campaign?

Joe Biden speaking at a campaign rally
Gettyimages | Scott Olson

While other leaders in the Democratic Party step forward and establish themselves during the coronavirus crisis, Biden is left fading into the background. His campaign isn't getting their message out effectively or appropriately. His attempts to establish himself as a voice for the party and authoritative leader have backfired.

How will this impact his campaign? Though it's very unlikely that Sanders could catch up and nab the nomination, it is possible that his work during the coronavirus crisis and his advocacy for healthcare for all will give him enough momentum in the upcoming primaries to ensure that Biden doesn't win the nomination outright. That could lead to the nominee being picked at the convention, which would be a shadow over Biden's campaign even if he walks away with the nomination.

His lack of leadership could also hurt his chances in the general election. Recent polls show that Biden and Trump are virtually tied nationally. With such a close race, Biden's lack of time in the spotlight could work in Trump's favor.

The Biden campaign needs to step up soon if they plan to win the White House.

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