Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden Should put Questions over his Mental Acuity to Bed, Says Political Strategist

With the Republican National Convention taking place this week, President Donald Trump is expected to escalate his attacks on Democratic Nominee Joe Biden’s cognitive ability to handle the office of the presidency. While this is essentially a broken record for the Trump campaign since Biden announced his candidacy, the former vice president has yet to address these unproven allegations in any meaningful way.

“When someone is questioning your fitness for office, it is far better to do demonstrations of mental acuity,” said Rick Ridder (@Ridderrick), President and Co-Founder of RBI Strategies and Research. “(Biden) should say since 1972, I’ve done ‘x, y, and z.’”

Many political figures on the Democratic side of the aisle are questioning President Trump’s cognitive acuity. He recently boasted that he “aced” his cognitive test but failed to pronounce “Yosemite” correctly in a nationally televised news conference a short time later.

However, Ridder, who served as the campaign manager for Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004 and as a strategist and a senior consultant for seven other presidential campaigns, believes that these unintentional headlines from the Trump campaign are not coincidental.

“The whole goal of the Trump campaign is to do a two to three day news cycle. They are coming up with something every day to take things off track,” said Ridder, who added that Trump succeeded with keeping his remarks in recent headlines when Biden announced that California Senator Kamala Harris would be joining him as his running mate. “The discussions of Harris’ birthplace was an opportunity to send the Democrats and progressives down a three-day rabbit hole.”

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the 2020 presidential election cycle to an unusual digital format. While Trump has taken repeated hits for hosting a mass gathering without masks in Oklahoma in late June and smaller in-person events since then, Biden has yet to leave his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and the surrounding areas, such as the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Biden has still not proven that he would be willing to leave the White House during the coronavirus pandemic if he is elected. Besides a bimonthly nationally televised news conference in a warehouse in Delaware, Biden has stayed behind the scenes in the last few months in the marathon for the U.S. presidency.

Ridder believes Biden could have a unique approach to hold his lead in national polls but hasn’t utilized it yet.

“The first and foremost thing I would tell them is that campaigns are about accomplishments and what you have done for the voters,” said Ridder. “Create ways that the average voter needs to know that you care about them.”

Ridder exclaimed that decisions on what Biden and Trump should address in their virtual settings and free air times are suggestive upon feedback from party-line voters and swing voters in battleground states. Ridder added, “Decision making is based upon survey research, focus groups, and antidotes.”

In the long run, Biden seems to have a comfortable lead in national polls. Addressing Trump’s allegations on his mental decline could both benefit and hurt his campaign with election day only two and a half months away.