No one could have predicted the disruptions that upended the 2020 election this year. For the past several months, health mandates designed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, such as social distancing, have forced campaigns to halt key tactics like door-to-door canvassing and big rallies.
Now, some see a possible return to normal. President Trump resumed in-person rallies with events in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Mount Rushmore. And the dedication to social distancing is slipping according to recent Gallup polling.
Of course, no one knows what the rest of the year holds. But as a career campaign strategist, I believe one thing that is clear: the innovations that candidates up and down the ballot have adopted over the last several months in response to the pandemic could reshape campaigning for years to come.
That’s because the challenges of campaigning in an era of social distancing are a more intense version of a central problem that call candidates must address, even outside a pandemic — namely, how to generate meaningful digital interaction with voters at scale.