Where Trump is obsessed with Biden’s physical and mental fitness, the SuperPAC supporting Trump’s re-election, America First Action, has focused on Biden’s long tenure in office, arguing in ads that they are running in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, that “Biden’s been wrong for too long” on issues ranging from NAFTA to China to fracking. I think that this is a more effective line of argument. Voters already know that Biden is old. They know that he often trips over his own words and is an easy punchline. But, his record — especially on issues like trade and the Iraq War — is the more problematic and salient.
Another sign that Biden lacks the polarizing profile of other Democratic figures (i.e. Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi) is that Republican congressional candidates are barely mentioning him in their ads. If you watched a bunch of GOP primary ads, you’d think that Trump was running against China or President Xi instead of a guy named Joe Biden. I asked the ad tracking firm, Advertising Analytics, to tell me how many GOP congressional ads run between mid-March and mid-June featured an attack on Joe Biden and how many featured criticism of China. There were 50 unique GOP ads that featured an attack on China as a country that has “cheated us,” or “stolen our jobs,” or brought us the coronavirus. There were only two congressional ads that mentioned Biden or tried to link him to their opponent. A GOP candidate in GA-14 attached Biden to radical elements of the party, while Arizona GOP Senate candidate Martha McSally claims in her ad that her Democratic opponent, Mark Kelly, “will help Joe Biden pass a new government-controlled health care system.”