COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Campaigns To Reinvent Themselves, Strategist Says

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A veteran strategist said COVID-19 has upended the political landscape this election year, and is forcing political campaigns to reinvent themselves.

For one thing, said longtime political consultant Gary Mack, the nationwide lockdown, social distancing, travel restrictions, and other restrictions have obliterated plans for door-to-door campaigning and big rallies, and have given advantages to those adept to social media.

"Strategy groups and pitching cabinets that are getting together are scratching their heads over house to do this. It is something that all of the political experts and gurus have really not done much before," he said.

He said 2020 campaigns are very different.

"We relegated now in campaigns that I have been involved in to having to do things like tele-Town Hall meetings, Zooms with opinion leaders, very small gatherings, socially distant gatherings with a handful of people," Mack said.

Another major factor: political donations are way down,  partly because the lockdown hurt the businesses of some big political donors, and Mack said others prefer to put their money into a candidate's hand and shake it - in person.

"A lot of the big checks, particularly in a state like Illinois where you don't have any hardly at all campaign limits and things like that, those folks just don't have the money to give this year," Mack said.

Without donations, political advertising suffers, and so consequently the broadcast stations and others that used to benefit.