The reason to do rallies, Demissie argued, is “to mobilize volunteers and to earn press in specific media markets. You can do both of those things from behind a keyboard, behind a camera… just as you can from physically being in a location.” While “in person is still the best way to do any kind of communication,” the arithmetic is changing now that digital natives are aging into becoming reliable voters, he said. “Millennials are now in their late thirties.”
Of course, Biden still has to use these digital tools effectively. His first online town hall in mid-March was plagued with technical difficulties, though they have gone smoothly since. Zac Moffatt, a veteran Republican operative who served as digital director for Sen. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, thought that the Biden campaign had missed a number of opportunities. “I don’t see them doing things that I would do to take advantage of this,” said Moffatt. Instead, he described Biden as mounting “a homebound version of a 1990s campaign.” And the Republican scoffed at the presumptive Democratic nominee’s operation. “Biden talks about innovation by doing a Zoom fundraiser? It’s a little bit sad,” he said.
In contrast, President Donald Trump has not been limited to his basement. The advantages of incumbency allow Trump his ubiquitous daily press briefings and all the technical advantages and paraphernalia of the presidency — including the ability to travel if so desired.