Biden, but not Many Others, Will Attend Party's Convention

Not even wars had kept crowds away, but party says the issue is public health
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2020 6:55 PM CDT
Democratic Convention Will Be Live, but Mostly not in Person
The stage is reflected on a glass window on the suite level at Wells Fargo Arena as Timmy Kelly sings the national anthem at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Democrats will hold an almost entirely virtual presidential nominating convention Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee, using live broadcasts and online streaming, party officials said Wednesday. Joe Biden plans to accept the presidential nomination in person, the AP reports, but it remains to be seen whether there will be a significant in-person audience to see it. The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that official business, including the votes to nominate Biden and his yet-to-be-named running mate, will take place virtually, with delegates being asked not to travel to Milwaukee. Biden's campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, said the drastically altered convention won't be an impediment. "Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party's nomination in Milwaukee and take the next step forward towards making Donald Trump a one-term president," she said.

It's the latest sign of how much the COVID-19 pandemic has upended life and the 2020 presidential election. Not even during the Civil War or World War II did the two major parties abandon in-person conventions with crowded arenas, drawing tens of thousands of people to the host city for the start of the general election campaign. Party Chairman Tom Perez said scaling back Democrats' festivities is a matter of public health. He sought to draw a contrast with President Trump's push for a traditional convention in North Carolina, clashing with the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, and public health officials over the details amid the pandemic. "Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people," Perez said. Democrats also plan events in satellite locations around the country to broadcast as part of the convention.

(Read more Democratic National Convention stories.)

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