FINALLY. It’s political convention season. Doesn’t it seem like this campaign has been going on for our entire lives?
But seeing as the United States remains in the throes of COVID’s first wave, how will the conventions function? What will happen to all the red, white, and blue paraphernalia of past events? The cutting-edge staging setups with pyrotechnics? Or Lenny Kravitz? How will we get a repeat of this moment from 2016 when it appears the retirement-age Clintons just discovered balloons for the very first time?
Think of the memes democrats!
Due to COVID, it seems this year each party is forced to hold a more subdued virtual convention focused on things like the formal delegate voting process to confirm a presidential candidate, updating party platforms to reflect current political realities, and hosting speeches from notable rising party leaders to introduce ambitious new goals to the national public. You know, the important stuff. It’ll be a throwback to the Eisenhower era when smallpox was a hoax and the president often expressed a fondness for his “good friend Khrushchev” in the Kremlin.
Now, you may have noticed I just said BOTH parties. Portions of the Republican convention were moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida last month. While the actual party convention functions like writing an updated party platform will still be held by party leadership in Charlotte, the super-sweet-sixteen-everyone-pay-attention-to-me-its-my-special-day portion will be held in Jacksonville.
These plans may once again change due to Florida’s new outbreak. Florida’s current daily case numbers have been higher than the total daily case count in all of Europe for the past week, a development surprising to literally no one outside of Florida. Governor DeSantis has mandated masks be worn indoors and gatherings allow a maximum 50 people, throwing the key goals of the convention into disarray. Will it be cancelled? Will it be virtual? We’ll be back with a “part 2” once the RNC comes to a consensus on how to move forward with their planned festivities.
So right now, we can really only explore the current plans for the virtual Democratic National Convention.
The Democratic Convention will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from August 17th to 20th, but what does this really mean if the convention is largely virtual?
Some portions of the event will be held in Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Center. The “anchor” location of the event was moved from Fiserv Forum at the end of June to accommodate extensive public health requirements. Presumptive nominee Biden’s official acceptance speech will take place in-person at the center, but it remains to be seen how many, if any, spectators will be invited for a live viewing. There is no word yet whether or not the to-be-announced vice-presidential nominee will be joining him.
Put this one in the perk column. As a Chicagoan, I’d like to say one of the best things about this virtual convention is that you no longer have to go to Milwaukee. When God closes a door, He opens a window.
The convention initially had 1,500 total events on the books. These additional speeches and satellite events that would normally be attended by up to 50,000 total people will not be taking place in Milwaukee or have been cancelled all together. Instead, socially distanced events and speeches from party leaders will be held at locations and landmarks across the country, with the actual convention center in Milwaukee acting as an anchor point from which these virtual events can be emceed and various live feeds can be managed.
The virtual event will be produced by Ricky Kirshner who has been producing the Democratic Convention since 1992. Kirshner has also done the Tony’s, the Super Bowl, and he actually has 9 Emmy’s. You read that right. He didn’t produce the Emmy’s 9 times. He’s won 9 Emmy’s for his production work. Respect.
And finally, as we said above one of the key purposes of party conventions is for state delegates to cast votes for their chosen candidates and officially confirm the party’s presidential nominee. Several states are still in the process of selecting their delegates to “send” to the national convention due to COVID-related delays. The Delaware DNC, for example, are expected to virtually cast their votes to choose state delegates using Google forms this month.
The DNC has specifically relaxed it rules for state delegates to cast their votes virtually. We’re still waiting to see how the DNC plans to collect votes at the convention but Delaware’s straightforward voting strategy leaves us with some confidence that lessons were learned from Iowa’s Caucus App debacle. Keep track of our Instagram for updates as we learn them!
Are you a member of the RNC looking to take your convention virtual? We can handle that!