Inside Joe Biden’s Coronavirus BunkerBreaking News
tags: Joe Biden, 2020 Election, coronavirus
They’ve been studying the midterms of 1918, the year of the Spanish flu pandemic when large gatherings were banned in many places and candidates were forced to invent new ways to communicate with voters and run their campaigns. Turnout plummeted that year to 40%, from 50% in the 1914 midterms.
“We went back and looked at voting in 1918,” said Anita Dunn, one of Biden’s top advisers, “where of course turnout was down, but the election was still held, and Congress was still seated.”
Dunn was already a bit of a Spanish Flu dilettante. When she worked in the Obama White House, she had studied the 1918 pandemic to help prepare the response to the outbreak of H1N1 in 2009. “In 1918, you had the initial wave in the spring that was very severe and receded,” she said. “And then, it came back powerfully when the weather got cold again in September, October, November with actually a bigger wave. There was a false sense of, ‘OK, it’s over.’” One big lesson she took away from that history: “Nobody knows how this one is going to behave.”
The search for historical precedents by Biden’s top strategists to help understand the bizarre new reality of running a presidential campaign in a country gripped by a pandemic underscores how totally the politics of 2020 changed in March.
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