COVID-19 Changes Political Campaigns
Even though political campaigning has been severely limited by the pandemic, it's still possible, and very active these days. That's according to a consulting firm based in the Quad Cities.
Herb Trix has more.
Founded in 1997, Victory Enterprises is a "full service Republican campaign consulting firm," according to CEO Brian Dumas. And they do everything from direct mail and polling, to advertising and social media, for local and national candidates and organizations across the country.
In some ways, he thinks, campaigning is still the same as ever.
"The US economy and the states' economies have been shuttered and businesses devastated with everything that's going on. So campaigns or candidates who have a clear message of here's the steps - A, B, and C we're going to do to get the economy moving back again when it's safe to do so."
Victory Enterprises says the mail is still a good way to get people's attention, and make up for the fact that candidates can't go door to door.
But COVID-19 has also forced some changes.
"Obviously with stay-in-place orders and people asking for social distancing, door-to-door isn't something campaigns or candidates can do right now So it's really shifted a lot of strategy to campaigns spending their dollars and their time digitally, where they can reach people on their phones or their computers while they're at home."
"So one of the great things you can do, and something we do at Victory Enterprises, is you can take a list of likely voters and upload that inside Facebook and do a match. And then you can deliver targeted advertising directly just to people you know are likely to vote in the election you're running for, and so it's a very efficient way to spend your dollars."
Who would have thought just a few months ago that candidates would have to campaign from their living rooms and their homes, but it's possible. And he points to William McKinley as an example - he ran his campaign for president in 1896 from his front porch while his wife was sick at home.
Advice from Victory for its clients also includes asking friends to make calls for them, and spreading the word on social media about their candidacy. And to keep on fund-raising.
The company also makes signs and banners, and he hopes soon his candidates will be allowed to put them up around their neighborhoods, cities, and districts.
"Just like every other business or individual or group in life, candidates and campaigns are trying to figure out what the new normal is. And for now, that's a heavy emphasis on delivering their message via digital platforms. I think everyone's hopeful that they can get out and get back to more traditional campaigning if things can get turned around and the curve flattens. So we're all praying that's the case."
Right now Dumas is focusing on the primary elections in June, in Iowa and other states.
"I think people might be willing to trade a ton of political tv ads on their local news in exchange for a little normalcy."