At a crucial time in American history, the presumptive Democratic nominee is stuck in his basement, write Obama campaign veterans David Axelrod and David Plouffe in a New York Times op-ed. And if Joe Biden hopes to defeat Donald Trump in November, he's going to have to get aggressive and creative—particularly on the digital front. "Online speeches from his basement won't cut it," they write. Team Biden is going to have to ramp up its "digital footprint" with quick attacks (videos, for example) that keep the former VP on the offensive. "It isn't hard to get a rise out of this thin-skinned president and knock him off his game," they write. "Be a speedboat, not a battleship. Make him react to you." Biden, though, should be ready for an "onslaught" of attacks, because Trump knows he can more easily win by discrediting Biden than by running on his own record, they write.
On this front, it's vital Biden have a "robust rapid-response operation" to monitor and respond to online attacks, rather than letting them fester. "The current furor over allegations of sexual assault against Mr. Biden by a former staffer, Tara Reade, is an example of how far negative stories can travel in the absence of a quick, decisive response," they write, their only mention of the controversy. The pair tick off a number of other suggestions, from preparing for a virtual convention to organizing surrogates to spread Biden's message online. The Trump campaign is ahead here. But "if, in the end, the limitations imposed by COVID-19 compel Mr. Biden and his campaign to pick up the pace and modernize their operations, the changes the virus will have forced on them may just wind up giving the Man in the Basement the decisive edge." (Read the full column.)