Good Morning
Good Morning

Shoring up their campaigns

Daily Point

Closing the gap with technology

With former Vice President Joe Biden breaking a monthly fundraising record, President Donald Trump’s campaign burning through money, and the businessman who is considering putting in millions of his own dollars, it’s worth asking how we got to this place. 

Biden was once cash-poor even among other Democratic contenders, but the presidential nominee has embraced the kinds of easily repeatable Zoom fundraisers that have changed the pace and structure of fundraising on Long Island, always an ATM for candidates.  

“They’re going on consistently,” says Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic national committeeman and active party fundraiser from Great Neck. 

Zimmerman estimates he gets six to 10 emails daily — and sometimes more than 10 — about such virtual events regarding the national ticket, more than usual because in previous cycles you’d mostly get invited to local events. 

Now, "events are not defined by region, they're defined nationally," said Zimmerman, who added that he’d given for several. Biden or his surrogates can gather people from Suffolk County or San Francisco on the same Zoom call. And House and Senate majority-seeking candidates can and do send their own solicitations without being on fundraising tours out of state. 

The  COVID-19-era shift toward Zoom has been less embraced by Trump, who aides say “doesn’t like them,” according to The New York Times. 

By contrast, the president and his eldest son Donald Jr. went to the East End for a fundraising swing in August, similar to last cycle, flying to a local airport and motorcading to events, which Zimmerman calls “working from an old model.” 

Trump brushed off the money worries in Monday morning tweets, saying his campaign had to spend to “counter the Fake News reporting” about the coronavirus pandemic that has left close to nearly 200,000 Americans dead. 

Fundraising by Zoom might not necessarily be equivalent to in-person. “It’s still easier to get people to donate $2,800 [per] person when they can meet, feel and speak directly to a major guest,” Democratic state and Nassau party leader Jay Jacobs told The Point. 

But there are certainly conveniences for Biden, who can handle the proceedings from his Delaware porch with less risk of getting the coronavirus. The same goes for donors. 

Zimmerman described the pleasant avoidance of having someone elbow him at a rope line, and having access to creature comforts: “The wine’s better at my home,” he said.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Hawkins and the 2020 race

A visit to the website for Facebook’s political ad archive finds a glossy U.S. 2020 Presidential Race spending tracker feature, showing the amounts spent by candidate Facebook pages over the last week. 

On that page, below the huge green bars for President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, and the small one for Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, there’s a 0 for Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate and the only New Yorker on the list. 

Hawkins, whose statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission lists a Syracuse address, hasn’t put up many Facebook ads as part of his relatively shoestring campaign. Recent ones concern gathering petition signatures in Pennsylvania and getting on the ballot in Minnesota. 

But a broader look at the New Yorker and former UPS worker’s ads this year show a pitch based on Hawkins being “lifelong champion for working people” who is the "original Green New Dealer."

He was one of the original founders of the national Green Party in the 1980s, and has run for governor of New York three times, on similar environmental and economic issues.  

After Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, Hawkins ran ads hoping to take up the progressive’s mantle.

“The fight for Medicare 4 All and a Green New Deal is not over,” one ad said. “The political revolution isn’t over,” said another. 

Expect that to be the pitch even with Sanders having spent the time since stumping for Biden. 

Some polls, however, suggest Hawkins might have a more uphill battle this year, with a smaller third-party vote than 2016. Those polls also find that Biden, who is not named Hillary Clinton, gets more of that third-party share. 

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Not much to write about

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Quick Points

  • Hundreds of wildfires, millions of acres burned, hundreds of structures destroyed, triple-digit temperatures, pervasive draught. Images of hell? Nope, just California.
  • Chinese, Russian and Iranian government hackers are trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research while U.S., Canadian and British spies are working to monitor and uncover their efforts. Imagine if all those resources were being spent instead on actually developing the vaccine?
  • After reports that U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy pressured employees at his previous private company to make donations to Republican candidates and later reimburse them, which is illegal, DeJoy’s spokesman said DeJoy “believes” he followed campaign fundraising laws. Which sounds a little like believing that the sun is blue.
  • President Donald Trump says he is “taking the high road” by not meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to negotiate a coronavirus stimulus package. You know that road – it’s the one that leads nowhere.
  • Key relief programs from the coronavirus CARES Act expired several weeks ago, millions of Americans are struggling financially and Senate Republicans are trying this week to pass a stimulus bill even skinnier than their previous ”skinny” proposal. Not exactly a finger-on-the-pulse-of-the-nation moment.
  • House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is telling GOP voters to vote by mail because he worries that COVID-19 fears and President Donald Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting will lead them to not vote at all. Perhaps McCarthy is a little more realistic than the president about a second wave. 
  • Several boats in a Trump flotilla sank in a Texas lake Saturday, swamped by choppy waters. Now there’s a metaphor for our times.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie