Crosscut Talks

The Battle for Enthusiasm in the Race for the White House

July 9, 2020

Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe discusses electoral excitement in the era of coronavirus. For years, the presidential election of 2020 has been touted as the most important of the modern era. There was little doubt that the months leading up to the November election would be filled with packed arenas and firey stump speeches. Instead the dominant images of the early stages of the general election have been empty seats in Tulsa and basement communiques from Delaware. With multiple crises dominating the national conversation, the presidential race has taken a backseat to more immediate concerns. Meanwhile President Donald Trump's handling of these crises appears to have done serious damage to his approval rating and the threat of coronavirus has limited the public appearances of his challenger Joe Biden. In the race for the White House, enthusiasm has been hard to come by. We invited Plouffe to weigh in on the state of the race. We talk about the apparent lack of excitement for these campaigns, whether it is a sign of things to come, and if dread and anger will replace enthusiasm as the driving force for this election.