The Biden campaign runs new digital and television ads, focusing on the effect of COVID-19 on the elderly. Ava DeSantis writes on Biden’s pitch to seniors.

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The Biden campaign will spend over $14.5 million on advertisements to target the elderly, this week. The campaign created an emotional television ad, entitled “didn’t matter.” The ad follows a family who lost a grandparent to the coronavirus. The late grandmother’s granddaughter speaks into the camera, describing her grandmother’s passing “it was difficult to comprehend how quickly every kind of spiraled downward. We didn’t even know that she had COVID, until a week later and her passing.”

“The President made a huge mistake in downplaying this virus. There was a lack of leadership, a lack of responsibility, and a lack of resources. I felt like our elderly have not been a priority for this administration, that they don’t matter. And I feel like my grandmother didn’t matter,” the family continued. “The last time I saw my grandmother, we weren’t going to be allowed in the hospital. We asked if we could videochat her, and everyone could say a little something. We gathered the family. We prayed, but the fact that she was alone, it just breaks my heart.”

Biden’s COVID-19 plan

Biden proposes an eight-point plan to reverse Trump’s “lack of leadership.” For workers Biden’s plan would provide guaranteed coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment, guarantee paid sick leave, and require employers to comply with social distancing requirements, punishing those who fail to do so. The plan would also build a national contact tracing workforce, ensure retail compliance with social distancing protocol, provide additional relief to small businesses, and help schools reopen safely.

For seniors, the plan promises to prevent employer discrimination against elderly workers, allow limited visitation to long-term care facilities, and provide Americans with an accessible COVID-19 database to remain informed about the progression of the virus.

Biden’s campaign identified the pandemic as a winning political issue for Biden in the beginning of the year. A campaign staffer told the Washington Post, “from really January on, Vice President Biden has been laser-focused on the rising risk to the American people presented by this pandemic.”

President Trump largely left pandemic response to state and local officials. This Sunday, for example, asked on Fox News why he refused to issue a national order to wear masks, Trump responded “I leave it up to the governors.” 

The President, however, criticized Democratic state officials who did not lift stay-at-home orders yet. In mid-May, Trump demanded Virginia, Minnesota, and Michigan lift stay-at-home orders to “liberate” residents.

The Trump campaign chooses instead to focus on ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. Their campaign bets that voters want to hear the President “talk about law and order,” said one campaign adviser. Operation Legend, a Department of Justice initiative, sends thousands of agents to cities, not invited by local officials, to shut down protests, exercising federal authority in a strategic way instead of focusing that authority on a strong executive pandemic response. 

The election will decide whether Trump’s culture wars pitch can resonate with voters under extenuating circumstances, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors are consistently the most conservative age group and the group most at risk of the coronavirus. The Biden campaign’s pitch to seniors indicates that the Vice President believes the COVID-19 pandemic will outweigh all other issues in the 2020 election. 



Ava DeSantis is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today. She has a background in political science and history at George Washington University.    

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