An Election Conversation With NPR's Asma Khalid And Ron Elving

Aug 19, 2020

The Democratic National Convention is happening this week and while Milwaukee is still considered the host city, the vast majority of the convention is happening digitally because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. But the convention isn’t the only part of this election that has been fundamentally different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything from campaigning to debating will be different from anything we’ve seen before.

To learn more about the convention, the election, and pandemic’s impact on all of it, Lake Effect’s Joy Powers spoke with Asma Khalid, co-host of the NPR Politics podcast and NPR’s main reporter for the Biden-Harris campaign, and Ron Elving, senior editor and correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR news.

Because of the lack of in-person events, Khalid says getting access to the candidates has become an issue. Even when Biden and Harris came together in Delaware, they did not make themselves available for press questions.

“They have not sat down for a press conference and been readily available to the press. So, in terms of getting substantive answers from Joe Biden, it has been a challenge because there are not very many venues for us to question him,” she says.

That makes getting answers on what Elving calls the three main issues the Biden-Harris Campaign will focus on just that much harder. 

“[Biden] is going to stress as the salient, most important issue whatever is not going well. Now, in the current moment, there are a number of things to stress. Obviously, the virus and the crisis that has us all in these strange situations, that’s number one. Number two is the recession that’s resulting from that,” he says. “And the third is the social unrest in the country.”

Since each of these issues are interconnected, he says they will all have to be covered effectively by the Biden campaign.