• Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

How do you wage a presidential campaign during a pandemic? Well, we are already finding out.

The 2020 race for the White House is going to be unlike any competition in American political history.

The party conventions this summer may be cancelled and political rallies are in severe jeopardy.

And the traditional kissing of babies and the shaking of hands along rope lines? Obviously, out of the question in an era of social distancing.

So the campaign will be waged by provocative and incendiary digital content and by surrogates fighting on their candidate’s behalf.

Anti-Trump forces have had their first major success with a new ad launched yesterday. It’s a powerful foil to one of the most successful political ads of all time, Ronald Reagan's feel-good "Morning in America."

This ad was the creation of disaffected Republicans, not Democrats. But mission accomplished: It’s been viewed millions of times and infuriated the president to such an extent that he launched a Twitter tirade in the middle of the night.

The US President has already launched his own bid to blame the pandemic on his opponents - the media and the Democrats.

We still have 181 days until the presidential election.

And as political strategists are quick to point out it will get much uglier soon.

This is just the opening skirmish.

So the 2020 election will be brutal, ruthless, vicious. It will be digital, viral, online.

Think Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok.

Not rallies, conventions, and fundraisers.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be the face of their respective campaigns. But the real work will be done by their digital campaign teams.

And we’ve just seen what that means in a Covid-19 world: Who gets the blame - and pays the political price - for the pandemic that has brought America to a shuddering halt?

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know