How will coronavirus impact the 2020 race?

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd and former Chicago mayor and ABC News contributor Rahm Emanuel discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 election.
6:42 | 05/05/20

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Transcript for How will coronavirus impact the 2020 race?
From what to expect in the next six months to Election Day let's bring in our political team ABC news political analyst Matthew Dowd and former Chicago mayor and ABC news contributor. Rom Emanuel gentlemen thanks so much for joining us. Thank you. Thanks great to be here now let's start with you is the pandemic we need most pivotal issue for November does the winner of the election all come down entirely to how the president handles the response in the next few months. Well I think if he tied a pandemic can wrap it with the economy those two fundamentally she's are gonna define the election in November. How he handles the pandemic and and therefore how they economy whether it. It grows what it does whether it continues to contract I think those are the two fundamental decisive moments and that the president's competency. I'm a pandemic and how that influences the economy move will decide this election. And Ron the president has had the bully pulpit throughout these briefings and generally being center stage in the response. While Joseph Biden has disappeared a bit in recent weeks so what Kinney due to break through or. Is this moment more advantageous for biting the sit back and let president trump potentially have some unforced errors. Well I would say first of all this is this is a scene right now both trump vs trump. And trumps losing that battle I know usually that part of political political fighting is when some Asia and knife fight with themselves don't get in the middle of it. Hand I don't think the president states is helping himself. I think you can see that clearly by polling numbers and other types and numbers the real challenge or question is. Not what Joseph mine's doing now with how is he using this time right now. To prepare for a point in time when in fact you'll get more to a model a model situation. I think the you have to know about Donald Trump. She only can exceed when he as an opponent. He has for what he's experiencing right now is basically the equivalent of political vertical he's looking at the trying to trying to Chinese is a confrontation point. The World Health Organization is a confrontation point the governors the media's a confrontational and without binding engaging directly. And that all less to love the whole distance but we're right now. The president looks like he's challenging allowing himself and by playing this did this game it's hurting the president so for now. It's a good strategy or tactic I would say long term it's not gonna work all the way through November in the campaign sunny and thinking like. That and let's talk a bit about that as far as how the pandemic will change how the candidates campaign. We could see virtual conventions and we'll likely see far fewer rallies in big event so Matt who does that hurt more. Well I don't think the honest answer is I don't think we fundamentally no I mean I think Donald Trump draws a lot of his energy as we signed between sixty and throughout his presidency. From crowds of people around them that's where he gets all his sort of level of passion and engagement and that. But you know come September and October and we're in this is I do think what we're gonna see this time more than other elections. Is styles gonna become less important than substance I mean substance is gonna become more important than style. In the midst of this and therefore I think the debates while often decisive are gonna become incredibly important. In this time when when those debates or had in the midst of it so. Crowd sizes rallies all of that all this traditional stuff of campaigns look like they're gonna go away to a degree. So I think once you put an emphasis more on substance and less on style you'd have to give that benefit in that poll point. It to Joseph Biden but again there's so much unknown in this and how this is all unfolds in the fall we don't know yet. And rob question he now bind it was criticized during the primaries for not having much of a specific agenda speaking of that substance. The map was just referring to but can he run on the experience and the steady hand argument or does he need something more to win in November. Well I achieved let me take one step back and answers that question a man that you just asked and I would say. That in this case. The the vice president is a known entity eight years of being a vice president and not going way so it's a little different than it solves and you had a senator or governor who hadn't had a national platform right slightly different. We should also and I will just say this from being humble is not an act natural after you for me here. We're all in unchartered water so this is just basically in good guess I would say less on substance and more on character. Right endemic sends a character looms large here and let's also talk about how we vote in November we saw the backlash when Wisconsin voters had to vote in person during the pandemic so Matt. How do you see this playing out as far states making it safe and accessible to vote if this pandemic is still a major issue in the fall. Well for a national election is is we all know this is a national election for president there really is a state by state how it unfolds and I think a number of states and Marty made the decision that they're gonna go to ballot by mail. A regardless of what the president thinks her regardless of what some Republican leaders think so they're gonna go to that so many of the states that worked. Sort of universal belt I mean are going to ballot by mail. I think what the answer to that question in the states and haven't moved that far. Is where does this pandemic stand where has it that then level of cases stand in September and October in order to make that decision. I think as Wisconsin demonstrated. People want to come out and vote regardless. Of what's in their way regardless of the and impediments both people for Donald Trump. And as well as people that are against soundtrack and want him removed from office I don't think we're gonna have any problem. With turnout in this election I think we're gonna set records on totals and more than a 150 million people will vote in the presidential election but I think each state is going to be different and that's. But so far a number of states have already decided they're going to ballot by mail universal so if anybody wants to send a balloting by mail are going to be able to do that. And a number of other states that are sitting on the fence are gonna think gonna depend. On where we stand on the virus come October. And last question you Ron how realistic is it for us to see more states using mail in ballots and we've seen some GOP resistance to widening ballot access to. Get stakes really prepare for that while in the middle of this emergency. They're gonna have to hand I would just say that it's very very important that. Oh I think a lot more states will do it. I would also add the emphasis then when I say do it meaning. Vote by mail but I would LO also add the emphasis when you look and study Wisconsin and to meet what they put together the voter concept the constant. Being on top of the did you get your ballot did you vote hot what can we do to help you he was that type of can't see your service I would say to the voters. That it has to be replicated in Florida Ohio Pennsylvania Michigan and Arizona and North Carolina. Matt Ron thank you so much for your time and your wisdom as always.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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