Democrats hope to convince voters around next week’s Republican National Convention that the only thing President Donald Trump has accomplished is sowing chaos, using a series of ads, television appearances and briefings to counter-program the convention.
It’s a difficult task: Conventions dominate coverage and Trump has shown a unique ability to control the conversation – for better or for worse – happening across the country. But the party hopes to use momentum from a well-reviewed convention to diminish the Republican counterpart.
The Democratic week of programming will involve new television and digital ads focused on how Biden believes Trump has failed as a leader, as well as a host of briefings led by prominent leaders in the Democratic Party, including former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Florida Rep. Val Demings.
Additionally, the party plans to hold virtual events across key battleground states.
“We see an opportunity to take advantage of their chaos and disorganization to again talk about what the presidency has yielded for folks,” said Lily Adams, a senior spokesperson for the DNC War Room.
One post-campaign tradition that isn’t expected to happen: Travel by either the Democratic presidential or vice presidential candidate. According to Democrats, there are currently no public plans for either Joe Biden or Sen. Kamala Harris to participate in the counterprogramming.
“Donald Trump and Mike Pence can lie all they want next week but the American people won’t buy it,” said party chair Tom Perez, “and the DNC won’t let it slide without holding them accountable.”
Republicans, due to the spread of the coronavirus, have had to make significant changes to their convention. The party initially planned to hold the convention in Charlotte, but when the state’s Democratic governor could not guarantee the party that he would allow the kind of crowds the President desired, the party moved their convention to Jacksonville. But increasing numbers in Florida forced Trump to announce he was canceling the Florida portion of the event.
The official business of the Republican convention will take place in Charlotte, with other speakers appearing from across the country and in Washington, DC. Trump will accept his party’s re-nomination in a speech on the South Lawn of the White House.
The Democrats hope a focus on politics next week, even if it is a focus on Republicans, will help them engage voters and encourage them to vote. By using phonebanks and virtual organizing events, the party hopes to encourage supporters to make a plan to vote, a message they tried to forcefully communicate during the Democratic National Convention.
The largely positive programing around the Democratic convention will grow increasingly negative next week, with top Democrats expected to blanket airwaves where they can to argue America is in “crisis” and Trump is the cause.
The theme of Democratic pushback on Monday will be “families in crisis,” which will focus on issues revolving around childcare, education and care for senior citizens. On Tuesday, Democrats will zero in on the economy and on Wednesday, they will center on the coronavirus and what they see as the president’s failed response to the pandemic.
On Thursday, the day that Trump will accept the renomination, the broad theme – “Country in Crisis,” will juxtapose Trump’s four years in office to the kind of leadership Biden and Harris have promised to provide.
The focus on chaos is an echo of what top Democrats argued during their convention, with Harris arguing Trump’s “constant chaos leaves us adrift,” former President Bill Clinton arguing that White House is defined by chaos and former first lady Michelle Obama telling supporters that when voters look to Trump for “any semblance of steadiness,” they get “chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy.”