Convention Contention?

Divergent approaches to national convention planning has some Democrats worried about ceding the spotlight to Republicans.

Democratic National Committee organizers are designing the event based on three contingencies, depending on the pandemic’s severity in August:

  • A full convention, if health conditions permit;
  • A mostly virtual convention featuring a limited in-person presence in Milwaukee; or
  • An entirely remote convention.

But the vast majority of delegates— both longtime delegates and first-time attendees of all ages—don’t want to attend in-person, even if social distancing measures are in place.

Even those who are planning to go expressed concerns. One prospective attendee said he would haul his own boat from Tennessee and stay on Lake Michigan rather than risk a hotel room.

Meanwhile, Republicans – at President Trump’s urging – are moving “full-steam ahead” in planning an in-person convention.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday the party “will not be holding a virtual convention,” pledging events will be conducted at least partly in person.

The optics of Republicans putting on a full convention the week after a scaled-down or completely virtual Democratic event has some Democratic Party officials concerned.

They fear Democrats could further cede the political spotlight and momentum to President Trump, who already enjoys the advantage of the presidential bully pulpit.