In the 2020 election, there can be no dispute that the conversation starts and ends with President Trump. The Democratic primary was nothing more than political theater. The primaries and debates served as entertainment en route to selecting a Democratic nominee. Regardless of who emerged, the goal was always to eradicate Trump, and the race was always going to be about Trump.
Biden’s declining ability to handle public appearances or questions from reporters without gaffes that highlight his deterioration, combined with COVID-19, allowed his campaign to insulate him from the public and press. This only further exaggerated the focus on Trump.
The lack of interest in the Democratic nominee is born out in poll numbers. In an August Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 58 percent of those registered voters who chose Biden said their vote was more against President Trump than it was for Joe Biden. Conversely, 74 percent of those who chose Donald Trump said they were voting for the President as opposed to voting against Joe Biden.
Rarely does Joe Biden take questions from the press. But instead of doing their jobs and demanding answers, the press allows him to deliver a speech only to then fade back into the shadows absent taking a single question. They allow this because Joe Biden is simply a background character in the Donald Trump era. Why cover Biden when President Trump is the enemy and it’s President Trump alone is who pulls in the ratings?
Even when Biden finally does allow the press to ask him questions, he chooses reporters from a list likely carefully curated by his staff. The obviously pre-screened questions, which are indistinguishable from questions the Biden campaign could have written themselves. Instead of asking about Joe Biden, his opinions, or his policies, the focus of reporters’ questions to Biden is still the President.
All Americans should be incredibly frustrated about the fact that Biden, by way of being treated as a non-factor, is getting a pass from friendly media allies. Instead of being forced to answer for his record, policies, inconsistencies, or errors, he is primarily being asked to react to Trump’s words and actions.
For someone with a 47-year record - including eight years as vice president – who is consistently misleading, dishonest, or inconsistent in his statements on that record or his policies, it is inequitable at best for him to completely fly under the radar and unquestioned.
After Joe Biden gave a speech stating he would ensure the future is made in America, by American workers he was not forced to answer a single question on his record – one that entirely contradicts his statement. Biden voted for NAFTA as a Senator and was an outspoken proponent of the agreement. During his time in the White House, the administration implemented the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Joe Biden’s record is one that shows him as a champion of China being included in the WTO, something that was disastrous for America. For decades, Joe Biden watched from his train as American workers and the factories that employed them became increasingly abandoned.
This is a record you would think a free and fair press would be beating down the door demanding answers on following a speech on American jobs. Yet, nary a peep from journalists, who are ever too eager to play along.
Try to imagine for one moment how things would be different if Donald Trump was behaving in the same manner as Joe Biden. Would the treatment be the same?
But that is the perk of not being a central figure to this election cycle, despite being the Democratic nominee. Joe Biden is held to answer for his policies and words only to the extent it somehow ties into Donald Trump’s words or actions.
The press is addicted to President Trump. He fills all hours of the 24-hour news cycle, and whether you support him or are opposed to him, there can be no doubt that the world of politics and news revolves around him.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden is just a placeholder. He could be replaced with any other cookie-cutter Democratic politician and it wouldn’t make a difference. At this point, Biden is just along for the ride – a mere passenger in the runaway car that is the Donald Trump election.
Jessica Curtis is the executive director of GOPAC and a Republican strategist.