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WASHINGTON — Democrats are delaying their national convention — and say they may have to make more changes to the major political event — in the face of the coronavirus.
The convention was originally slated for mid-July in Milwaukee but has been penciled in for mid-August, right before the Republican National Convention. It remains to be seen how either party can carry off the pageantry of the nominating convention, normally a major moment in the presidential schedule, during a global pandemic.
“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, said in a statement.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, said earlier this week that he thought the party should delay the convention.
As the coronavirus continues to ravage America and the world, it had become increasingly clear that safely holding a convention with thousands of delegates in the middle of July would be all but impossible. It’s unclear why August will be any better.
Solmonese insisted that the party “will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November.” But an accompanying press release from the Democratic National Committee said the party would use the coming weeks to figure out how to safely run the convention — with potentially more changes to the convention’s format, crowd size and schedule.
The pandemic has all but shut down traditional campaigning and forced candidates from the White House on down to cancel rallies and field operations. More than a dozen states also had to cancel their primaries. It’s unclear how the candidates will be able to campaign this summer and fall with most of society shut down — and increasingly uncertain how people will actually be able to safely vote in November in a hugely consequential election.
Cover: Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, greet one another before they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)