Joe Biden, at least by most national polls, remains the favorite to win the Democratic primary, but the former vice president has nonetheless proven unable to build his coalition. Just as troubling for his prospects of maintaining an ever-slim lead against fellow Democrats, he raised $15.7 million last quarter – substantially less than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and trailing even Pete Buttigieg.
Biden, suffice it to say, must run his campaign like a well-oiled machine between now and early February to ensure his candidacy remains viable through Super Tuesday. Unfortunately, there’s little to suggest he and his team are prepared to take advantage as nationwide attention on the race grows – and every indication Donald Trump’s campaign will remain ready to pounce on every mistake.
“Todos Con Biden” to “Joe Forgot About Latinos”
On Wednesday, Biden unveiled his Latinx outreach program, “Todos Con Biden.” While building support among Latinx voters is a necessity for Democratic candidates, especially leading up to the Nevada primary in late February, rolling out any campaign initiative without prior due diligence is a recipe for disaster – a lesson Biden and his people are learning the hard way.
The Biden campaign inexplicably failed to register the web address, Twitter handle, and Facebook page for “Todos Con Biden” before the drive was launched. President Trump’s campaign took near-immediate note of the error, exploiting it by buying the “Todos Con Biden” domain name and associated social media accounts.
Visitors to todosconbiden.com are sent to a page that features a frowning Biden, looking down with his arms crossed, below a message reading “Oops, Joe forgot about Latinos. Joe is all talk.” Buttons on the page redirect to Latinos For Trump, and the small print confirms the website was paid for by the president’s re-election campaign.
"We need family separation." – Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/iDqu202CEY
— Todos Con Biden (@todosconbiden) October 23, 2019
The @todosconbiden Twitter account, meanwhile, features a video of Biden’s “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” slip, alongside a years-old video of him advocating for fencing along the border. The Todos Con Biden Facebook page offers similar material, including a 2014 photo of a smiling Biden with disgraced Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.
Trump’s trolling didn’t end there, though. At a Biden campaign event in Las Vegas, supporters of the president held hand-made signs encouraging people to visit todosconbiden.com.
— Team Trump (@TeamTrump) October 24, 2019
This isn’t the first time Trump has benefited from a political rival’s digital negligence. In late 2015 and early 2016, going to JebBush.com, a domain linked to early Republican Primary frontrunner Jeb Bush, redirected users to then-candidate Trump’s campaign website.
From a Victim of ‘Domain Warfare’ to a Purveyor
Trump, it bears mentioning, has been the victim of similar digital gamesmanship. In 2012, Chris Puchowicz, a longtime critic of Trump, bought the domain Trump.org for $1,272 in anticipation of a future presidential campaign from the tabloid and reality TV star. Shortly thereafter, the Trump Organization demanded he turn the address over to Trump, free of charge, lest he be sued for $100,000.
Last June, amid multiple reports and mounting hysteria about the administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” at the border that led to family separation, one enterprising individual bought the domain TrumpHotels.org. Rather than images of towering buildings bearing the Trump name and perfectly-manicured golf courses, visitors to the address see photos of migrant children in cages and incendiary quotes from Trump, under the heading of “Thoughts From Our Manager,” about Mexico and its people.
— Deepak (@datagoon) June 20, 2018
The big winner of the domain wars, though? YouTuber Josh Fayer, who bought the domain Joe30330.com after Biden told viewers to “go to Joe 30330,” ostensibly his campaign’s text prompt, during closing remarks at the second Democratic debate. Heading to that address redirects to “Josh For America,” which includes a satirical campaign video for America’s “first Gen Z’er” to run for President.