News came late last week that Joe Biden would in fact rely on an in-house digital team rather than outsourcing his online outreach to Mike Bloomberg’s Hawkfish campaign startup. Many in the field thought that hiring a firm with little political experience and a track record of winning zero elections was a bad idea in itself, and that farming out an entire digital operation is the opposite of what we’ve learned to do through hard experience. In the real world, a digital team needs to integrate as seamlessly with the rest of the campaign as possible.
Axios broke the story last week, and their piece also includes useful details about who’s handling different aspects of Biden’s campaign. Not in as rosy a place? Trump reelection manager Brad Parscale, the first digital marketer to run a presidential campaign. Trump’s apparently furious with him and Jared Kushner about his polling numbers, and people close to the President are whispering publicly that he should hire a new team.
Changing horses in mid-stream is rarely a great idea in politics, unless you can pin down specific ways in which your existing team is falling short and bring in people to fill those gaps. Parscale’s fundamentally a mechanic, not a messaging guy, so perhaps Trump would be wise to hire staff to help with top-level strategy. But the biggest thing dragging down Trump is Trump — and much as many of us might like him to, he’s not going to replace himself.