President Joe Biden and his aides got a reality check from another Democrat who once sang his praises.
Veteran 2020 Biden campaign adviser Symone Sanders-Townsend addressed challenges with the current re-election bid and recommended the president get in front of voters more as she shredded the Bidenomics message.
Now hosting a new MSNBC show, “The Weekend,” the former adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Politico about the Biden camp and what needs to change.
“They talked a lot about acronyms in the beginning and not enough about the plain things. You ain’t even got to name the legislation,” Sanders-Townsend said about the messaging strategy for the president’s 2024 campaign.
“Just tell the people what has happened. And I think that there was maybe too much of a focus on trying to message it tightly up in a nice bow and not enough focus on just, well, how can we make it plain for the people that we want to understand it?” she told Politoco’s Playbook.
“They are not going to get ‘Bidenomics.’ Let it go,” she added bluntly.
“How about you just make sure they know what you’re going to do and what you did? … You can give folks all the numbers about GDP and all these other things, but the data doesn’t move people. Stories move people,” Sanders-Townsend said.
The Democratic strategist, who also served as the national press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, weighed in on the president’s seeming swagger about his connection with voters.
“I think that there is a little, ‘Oh, these people trying to tell us how to do it. And we ran our race and our strategy worked,’ which, touché, because they’re right. It did,” she said of the 2020 race. “That being said … it is important to have the voices of people who are not insulated in the bubble. People who talk to real people, people who are out there across the country, who are hearing from folks in the barbershops, beauty shops, the Bible studies.”
While the gaffe-prone commander-in-chief is rarely allowed to have spontaneous interactions, Sanders-Townsend suggested his team push for more “intimate” settings with voters.
“When was the last time you saw Joe Biden do a rope line? When’s the last time you saw Joe Biden in a town hall taking questions from the American people?” she asked.
“Joe Biden needs to campaign like Joe Biden knows how to campaign. When people see him in a more intimate setting, they stop thinking about how, oh, he’s old, and they start listening to what he has to say,” she added.
Her comments drew mixed responses on social media
She’s right but she’s as bad as Biden. What’s she done to lift anyone but herself?
— Meredith (@Meredith5162) January 15, 2024
It does not matter whether they drop Bidenomics, it will be tied to Biden for ever.
— Stan Predki (@predki38340) January 15, 2024
She’s Smart Enough to Know
— Joe Frank Hernandez (@JoeFrankHernan1) January 16, 2024