Sam Elliott, a veteran character actor with a signature cinematic drawl, has voiced a new ad portraying Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a healer who believes in “one America” — a stripped-down patriotic appeal likely to become one of the more memorable messages of 2020.
The 30-second ad, which aired Tuesday on the first night of the World Series, shows a fluttering American flag as “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays on a piano.
“There is only one America — no Democratic rivers, no Republican mountains,” Mr. Elliott says in the soothing tone of Zen-master reassurance he adopted in “The Big Lebowski.”
“There is so much we can do, if we choose to take on problems, and not each other. And choose a president who brings out our best,” Mr. Elliott says. “Joe Biden doesn’t need everyone in this country to always agree. Just to agree we all love this country, and go from there.”
The spot, reminiscent of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 ad set to Simon & Garfunkel’s “America,” is emblematic of Mr. Biden’s core closing strategy — projecting an image of decency, reunification and optimism — as President Trump continues to go scorched earth on his political opponents, Republican dissenters and the media.
One of Mr. Biden’s enduring advantages over Mr. Trump is his relatively high personal approval rating, which has hovered in the mid-to-high 40s, roughly at par with his disapproval numbers.
The president, whose disapproval ratings remain stuck above 50 percent in many polls — was able to win four years ago, in part, by degrading his opponent Hillary Clinton’s standing with voters rather than increasing his own popularity.