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What should we expect from the U.S. 'pandemic election'?

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22.08.2020

Peter McKenna

Guest opinion

Quick question: How do you conduct a U.S. presidential election campaign in the middle of a deadly pandemic? And, secondly, will the two campaigns be radically different from past electoral strategies and formats?

In the COVID-19 era, it was hard not to notice at the launch of the Biden-Harris ticket (and the no in-person and scaled-down party nominating convention) the new rules of the political game: no wild and boisterous supporters and party operatives, an absence of balloons and confetti and not much in the way of political excitement and atmospherics. It certainly made for odd television viewing.

Add to that a series of atypical interpersonal measures — namely, no hugs or high-fives between Biden and Harris, periodic social distancing and, of course, visible mask-wearing. This is most assuredly not like any other U.S. presidential campaign that I’m accustomed to. There was not even any loud hooting or clapping in a jam-packed and sweaty arena.

Those types of political visuals used to dominate previous election coverage in the U.S. Now the journalistic scribes keep six feet apart and have to shout their questions from mostly the sitting position. Indeed, it looks as if the patented media “scrum”........

© The Guardian


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