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How to Run Election Campaigns During the Coronavirus Crisis
Dr. Louis Perron - Political Consultant Dr. Louis Perron - Political Consultant
Sunday, May 17, 2020


With the coronavirus, every 2020 election campaign has fundamentally changed. All campaign tools that involve personal contact are pretty much gone for the moment. Alternatively, campaigns can for example rely on phone banks and massive text messaging. It is now common for presidential campaigns to have sophisticated apps (Team Joe, Trump 2020). Other high-profile campaigns can and should duplicate this.

This corona crisis is also an opportunity for campaigns to do what they should have been doing all along: build their data base. Campaigns should particularly reach out to elder voters. Many of them are online, but they need a little push to get more and further engaged. Everybody who runs an online business says the same thing: the money is in the (email) list. Translated for campaigns: The votes and the activism are in the list.

Phone, screen and radio time are all up. Therefore, campaigns should also reach out to radio stations. Campaigns can also do good old door hangers, robo calls and there is great technology out there to do live mass calls with hundreds or thousands of supporters. The good thing is that political leaders and surrogate candidates are not expected to be at meetings in person right now. As a result, they also have more time, which is no small feat. A top surrogate can do zoom calls for eight, ten races per day.

Political parties may also play a humanitarian role giving out aid or do food deliveries. It is however important to be very clear about this. A party should not pretend to give out aid, when they are actually campaigning. Parties should do either one and be candid about it.

This being said, all these changes are of a tactical nature. The basics of campaigns have not changed. They still need a message and a strategy. Ideally, campaigns tie their message to the current situation. They shouldn't make noise for the sake of making noise. While voters are listening more than usual, they want to hear specific solutions.

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