The Reality of the Pandemic Kicks in as Biden’s Milwaukee Trip is Canceled
By: April Feng
On Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden announced that he would be accepting the Democratic presidential election from his home state, Delaware, rather than appearing in Milwaukee. This decision comes as a result of the continuously worsening COVID-19 pandemic that has changed the lives of everyone in 2020.
With over 150,000 coronavirus deaths reported, it is no surprise that this year’s presidential election will be like no other. Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, states, “The conventions as we traditionally have known them are no more...They will be more interactive and more digital, with more on social media.”
While some Democratic officials will continue to travel to attend the Milwaukee convention, the number of attendees has been dramatically reduced from 50,000 to just 300.
For recent elections, conventions have been opportunities for candidates to engage with volunteers and donors and communicate with the American electorate. Dramatic balloon drop entrances would help to introduce the candidates and kick off the convention while lavish parties would be held on the side.
The 2016 convention organizer, Leah D. Daughtry said, “Can you make it interesting? That’s the challenge. You’ve got to make it interesting.”
But this year’s virtual convention will be challenging. McAuliffe continues by saying, “There’s not going to be the balloons and all the yelling and cheering that goes on at a convention.”
Plans have emerged to keep up the same level of engagement that typically occurs during a convention. “We’re hoping for small things like, can we get the delegate credentials sent to us so people can have them as souvenirs,” stated the Nebraska Democratic Party chair, Jane Kleeb.
Some donors will also receive “swag bags” in the mail filled with “commemorative pins, buttons and the formal credentials that would have been waiting for them at their hotels,” according to The New York Times.
Donors and other fundraisers will also be receiving “convention packages” based on their donation amount. For donating $250,000, activities like “taste of the trail” are promised. The $100,000 and $50,000 and up donors will similarly receive a “preferred convention welcome kit” or “afternoon briefings and other convention week daytime content”, respectively.
Alex Lasry, leader of the 2018 Milwaukee convention bid, states, “On the bright side, we’ll have hosted the most unique and consequential convention in history.”