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Coronavirus pandemic scuttles 2020 campaign themes for Democrats, Republicans
Why is a coronavirus stimulus package needed?
President Trump says a stimulus relief package will help small and large businesses recover from the economic hit they’ve taken from coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic and the nation's crashing economy are scrambling the themes both major political parties thought would carry them to victory in November for control of the White House and Congress.
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Shattered, certainly for now, is President Trump's ability to tout a brawny economy and record stock market prices as the predicate for his reelection. The GOP could face a hard time calling Democratic candidates socialists with a straight face as Congress works on a bipartisan, near $2 trillion rescue package that would essentially have government drive the economy indefinitely.
Democrats say they're the party that will protect people's health care, but it's unclear that would be heard by people focused mostly on when life will return to normal. And by pounding away at Trump's competence, they'd risk alienating voters who, during a stressful time, want policymakers to produce solutions, not partisan wrangling.
“We're in the middle of a hurricane. We don't know all the political consequences. We don't know if it's a Cat 1 or a Cat 5,” said GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak, referring to categories used to express the strength of storms.
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Trump has seized public attention with almost daily briefings about the government's response to the pandemic. That's left former Vice President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, and his party's congressional candidates searching for ways to break into the news cycle.
Clearly, campaign themes are changing.
Five political advertisers had run ads mentioning the coronavirus through last week, according to Advertising Analytics, a firm that tracks ad data. That included one in Florida, in Spanish, by Biden, and two by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
“In times like this, we must work together,” Collins, who faces a competitive November reelection in a state that prizes independence, tells the camera.
More are coming.
Priorities USA, the largest outside Democratic political organization, planned to start ads Tuesday in election battlegrounds Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The spot plays Trump's own words, including, “We have it totally under control,” as a bar graph displays the skyrocketing number of coronavirus cases.
The spot ends as “AMERICA NEEDS A LEADER WE CAN TRUST" is displayed against a black background.