Democrats have moved their party convention back to August 17, but many party leaders believe that Joe Biden will have to accept his nomination virtually and not in person. The Democrats are planning a much scaled-down version of their Milwaukee convention and aren’t even sure if they’re going to have anyone there.
Meanwhile, Republicans are still going to hold their convention beginning August 24 and don’t plan on cutting back anything. Thousands of people will descend on Charlotte, NC to watch Donald Trump accept the GOP nomination for a second term.
Ready or not, it’s full speed ahead for Republicans.
According to McDaniel, corporate sponsorship and other funding for the event has not been adversely affected by a pandemic-induced recession that has closed thousands of businesses and put 22 million people out of work. That is significant because the political parties lost access to federal funding for their expensive, quadrennial nominating conventions in legislation signed by President Barack Obama in 2014.
McDaniel said the party has not developed contingency plans for an abridged convention, which might yet be necessary because of lingering health risks from the coronavirus. So far, 677,000 people in the United States have been infected, and 35,000 have died. But the chairwoman said the RNC, in consultation with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and state officials, would reassess matters by early July to determine whether “adjustments” to the convention were needed.
Don’t believe McDaniel when she says the party has not developed contingency plans. I’m sure they have all sorts of contingency plans based on several scenarios. Between the city, state, and the GOP, the convention will cost north of $100 million. It’s doubtful with that much money at stake that there aren’t any alternative plans out there.
The party’s by-laws stipulate that the party meet in person to nominate a president. Trump can’t access the cash he’s raised for his re-election without getting nominated so there’s going to be some kind of convention in August — even if it’s just a matter of party chairmen sitting six feet apart meeting in a big room.
Of course, conventions are made-for-TV spectaculars so it would be helpful if there was a nice backdrop of several thousand screaming Trump fans in attendance.
“The president isn’t thinking about this at all,” she said. “He’s so focused on, ‘How do we pull our country out of this and balance the health and safety of the American people with getting people working again?’ So I think it would be refreshing to get to a point where we’re actually talking about having rallies again and having conventions because that means our country is healing.”
Political conventions are an important slice of Americana. They used to be scenes of drama and upheaval. But today, it’s a lot of inebriated party faithful wearing funny hats and having a great time.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s still a celebration of our freedoms. But Democrats would be missing something if they held their convention and they didn’t invite anyone.