In a bold move, Vice President Joe Biden has chosen to speak in Tampa during the Republican National Convention next week. The GOP expressed outrage at the announcement, claiming that Biden is merely crashing the RNC in an attempt to draw voters away.
Though Biden’s poignant choice of venue is considered poor manners, his strategy is actually a fairly common practice on the campaign trail. Both parties have actively engaged in “bracketing” since the beginning of the 2012 election.
“Bracketing” is the strategic planning of a rally, speech, or event in order to counter or crash an opposition event. For example, in April Romney planned two speaking events surrounding a preplanned Obama campaign stop in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Though Biden’s speaking engagement is a bold example of “bracketing,” both parties are equally guilty of counter campaigning.
The 2008 election saw an increase in partisanship, and “bracketing” is another consequence of the widening gap between parties. Campaigns continually resort to lower and lower forms of tearing down the opposition. Character attacks, “bracketing,” and unfounded accusations are flying back and forth between the two campaigns as they fight their way to the White House.
The focus of the campaign trail seems to have drifted from the issues, and become centered on the personal struggle between the two candidates and their larger parties.
In 2008, Florida swung to the left in favor of Obama. The GOP is hoping to retake the state by choosing to host the national convention there next week. Biden’s events throughout Florida during the RNC may distract fence voters from the GOP’s largest campaign stop. The Republican Party attempted the same stunt in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention.
Perhaps it is not the event, but the blasé manner in which Biden addressed the issue that bothered the Republic Party. In Minneapolis, Biden was reported as saying:
“Any of you going to Florida? I’m going to be the speaker at the convention.”