DNC announces sweeping changes to convention, but Biden will still accept nomination in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE - Organizers turned the Democratic National Convention upside down on Wednesday when they told state delegations not to travel to Milwaukee, move the convention to a smaller location, and add satellite events across the country.
But even if the Democrats downsize their convention - contrary to what the Republicans do - they say that former Vice President Joe Biden will continue to officially accept the nomination in Milwaukee.
"Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party's nomination in Milwaukee and take the next step forward to make Donald Trump a president for a term," said Jen O'Malley Dillon, campaign manager at Biden, in a statement. "The city of Milwaukee was an incredible partner and we are committed to highlighting Wisconsin as an important battlefield country at our August meeting."
Video: Changes for both political conventions in the middle of a pandemic
Changes to both political conventions as the coronavirus pandemic progresses
Political conventions are full of pomp and circumstance and aim to fire voters, but this year it will be dramatically different.
The decision to revise the plans for the convention from August 17-20 was made after consulting public health officials about the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers said.
The steps taken by the Democrats are in stark contrast to the Republicans, who moved their key congress events from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, after North Carolina officials failed to promise that the rules for social detachment would not take effect.
President Donald Trump plans to accept the re-nomination in front of large crowds that are expected to attend the event from August 24-27.
Different approaches: In the face of the corona virus, republican and democratic leaders are revising the convention plans
For the Democrats, the delegates will cast votes for the President's nomination from afar, which is becoming a reduced and increasingly virtual event.
The organizers also announced that major events such as a welcome reception for delegates and the media, and a party for volunteers due to concerns about the corona virus, will be canceled as the number of cases increases in the United States.
"Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation," said National Democratic Committee chairman Tom Perez in a statement. "This is exactly what we did with our Congress. Unlike this President, Joe Biden and the Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people."
He also praised congressional organizers and Milwaukee officials for helping them plan a major event in the midst of a pandemic.
"I couldn't be more proud of how our team organized and mobilized to win the vote and ensure a successful convention in Wisconsin, and I am grateful for the exceptional leadership of our partners in the city of Milwaukee," said Perez said.
The organizers also announced on Wednesday that the Fiserv Forum will no longer be the centerpiece of the congress as all event routines will move from the Bucks house in downtown Milwaukee to the Wisconsin Center. While Biden is expected to travel to Milwaukee, state delegations are advised that they should not plan to come to the city for this event.
The congress, which was previously postponed from July to August, should initially attract 50,000 visitors to Milwaukee this summer. The number of participants will now be significantly lower.
Congress planners said Milwaukee as the host city will continue to anchor events for the week, but added that the program will include live broadcasts and content from other "satellite cities, locations, and landmarks across the country."
Democrats are trying to honor their commitment to keep as much of the Milwaukee event as possible because the coronavirus pandemic is unpredictable.
The organizers of the congress also said on Wednesday:
State delegations should not plan to travel to Milwaukee and should plan to do their official convention business remotely.
A process is being developed to ensure that all delegates can cast their votes remotely on the President's nomination and all other convention matters.
Milwaukee will host events every night from August 17-20, but the program will now include live broadcasts and content from "other satellite cities, locations, and attractions" in the United States.
The meetings of the DNC Standing Committee, which are tentatively scheduled for the last week of July, will also take place virtually.
Mississippi's US representative Bennie Thompson will serve as the permanent chair of the convention and will direct all of the official congress business.
The congress program, including satellite broadcasting, will be led by Emmy award-winning producer Ricky Kirschner.
Democrats also consult with epidemiologists and infectious disease experts, W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, and Larry Brilliant, a former professor of epidemiology.
Earlier this month, Perez said he didn't know how many delegates would attend the party's National Congress in Milwaukee, but reiterated that Democrats will host their event in Wisconsin's largest city despite the uncertainty caused by the corona virus.
The team that oversaw the 2020 National Democratic Convention in Milwaukee already had the maximum authority to change the format, size, and dates of the event as part of a comprehensive decision that party insiders approved in May.
"Everything is at stake this November, so we need to find creative and forward-looking ways to organize, mobilize and unite our congress party around our common values so that we can lead Joe Biden to victory this fall. " said Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.
John Diedrich of the Sentinel Journal contributed to this report.
Contact Mary Spicuzza at (414) 224-2324 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @MSpicuzzaMJS.
This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Democratic Convention: Joe Biden to accept the nomination at a smaller event
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