Convention delegates who were expected to arrive in Milwaukee in large numbers for the Democratic National Convention have been told to stay at home. While some delegates are still expected to make the trip to Wisconsin, it’s become evident that this year’s Democratic National Convention will be nothing like it has in the past.
National conventions give political parties a chance to rally their base and broadcast their message to a national audience. Democrats are still planning to feature four nights of programming, beginning on Aug. 17. In response to the smaller crowd size, the convention is being moved from the 17,000-seat Fiserv Forum, home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, to the Wisconsin Center, a convention center in downtown Milwaukee.
The convention is shaping up to be an increasingly virtual event. A process is being developed to ensure all delegates can cast their votes on all convention matters, including the presidential nomination, remotely during the convention. Organizers also announced that large-scale events, such as a welcome reception for delegates and media and a party for volunteers, are canceled due to coronavirus concerns as cases surge in the U.S.
DNC leaders say they finally made the decision to overhaul plans for the convention after consulting with public health officials about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moves by the Democrats stand in stark contrast to the Republicans, who shifted their main convention events from Charlotte, NC, to Jacksonville, FL. President Donald Trump plans to accept the re-nomination in front of large crowds expected to attend the Aug. 24-27 event.
“Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. “That’s exactly what we’ve done with our convention. Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden will still formally accept the nomination in Milwaukee, and organizers said Biden’s vice-presidential running mate, still to be selected, will also be in Milwaukee.
Convention planners said that Milwaukee, as the host city, will still anchor the events for the week, but added that programming will include live broadcasts and content from other “satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country.” The convention will be anchored every night in Milwaukee and Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson was announced as the convention chair, and will preside over all official convention business.
In addition to nominating Biden as the Democratic nominee for president, through multiple formats and mediums, the convention will also celebrate the promise of America by featuring the people and their stories that represent the strength and collective humanity of the nation and demonstrate why Biden is the leader the country needs now.
Don’t expect boring. The overall production of the convention’s program — including the satellite broadcasts — will be led by nine-time Emmy-award winning producer Ricky Kirshner. Kirshner has served as the executive producer of the Tony Awards since 2004, the Super Bowl Halftime Show since 2007, and has worked on every Democratic National Convention since 1992.