Political Party Conventions 2020: Democratic National Convention

Political Party Conventions 2020: Democratic National Convention

Democrats started to “gather” yesterday for the Democratic National Convention to portray a theme of “Uniting America.” They will air programming each evening this week through Thursday from 9:00-11:00 PM ET / 8:00-10:00 PM CT. Originally scheduled to be hosted in Milwaukee, former Vice President Joe Biden instead will accept the Democratic nomination from his home in Delaware in a virtual convention. In the absence of a week of activities culminating in a balloon-drop moment of candidate and running mate in front of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters, the Democratic party is running a virtual demonstration of support from a broad ideological spectrum and diverse collection of Americans. Later this week we’ll also provide an additional update previewing the Republican convention next week.

The Democratic convention opened with a first-day unity theme highlighting individuals who are confronting the public health, economic, and racial justice challenges the country is currently facing. The roster of elected officials and public figures opening the convention was intentionally selected to reflect a broad spectrum of ideological support including Senator Bernie Sanders on the left and, notably, former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Former First Lady Michelle Obama also featured prominently in the opening night lineup.

The mid-section of the convention is expected to feature former Presidents Clinton and Obama. Speakers will cast a vision for the capabilities of the federal government and what Vice President Biden will bring to the presidency to lead the country to “build back better.” Of course, the convention will highlight the historic nature of the vice presidential candidacy of Senator Kamala Harris. She is the first African American woman, first Asian American, and first person from California since Ronald Reagan on the national ticket. The convention will include a “Roll Call Across America” that will feature people from all 57 states and territories as they officially vote to nominate Vice President Biden.

The convention will wrap up by characterizing an opportunity to move from “chaos and crisis” to steady leadership. There will be a fulsome display of Vice President Biden’s decades-long career in public service as he seeks to cast a vision for a new direction for the country.

Needless to say, a convention in this format will be a departure from the normal robust festivities. The challenge of conveying the energy of impassioned support can be likened to the challenge officials face when delivering the response to the State of the Union address. Generally featured alone and straight to camera, the official has no crowd to feed off and respond to. At the same time we may see some new and creative approaches that will be blended in to future conventions. What we know for certain is that Joe Biden will emerge the nominee of the Democratic party for president next week.

By David Mork
Assistant Vice President of Federal Affairs