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Thursday, April 2, 2020
Democrats Delay Convention
The Democratic National Committee has announced that the party’s convention will be delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The convention was originally scheduled for July but will now be delayed until mid-August, the New York Times reports.
Last night, presumptive nominee Joe Biden called for a delay in the convention in an appearance on “The Tonight Show.” The day before, Biden told MSNBC in an interview that it would “hard to envision” the convention going ahead on schedule.
The Democratic convention was originally scheduled to take place from July 13 through July 16. The new schedule calls for the convention to kick off on August 17. The gathering will still take place in Milwaukee.
The Republican convention was already scheduled for August 24 through 27 in Charlotte. The new Democratic schedule puts the two party functions only a week apart.
Speaking to Fox News last week, President Trump said that he has no plans to change or cancel the Republican convention.
“We’re not going to cancel,” Trump said. “I think we’re going to be in great shape long before then.”
The shifting schedule for the Democratic convention leads to several questions and possibilities. Many states have postponed their primaries due to the pandemic. The longer primary schedule may make it more difficult for Biden to consolidate the party behind his candidacy. The new convention date does give his campaign more time between the late primaries and the convention to hone their message.
The delayed convention also keeps open the possibility that Democrats might substitute another candidate for Biden. If Biden does not win 1,991 of the 3,979 pledged delegates, anything could happen at the convention. This is especially true if Biden loses the confidence of party leaders over the summer.
Finally, the shorter time between the convention and the election will affect Biden’s ability to mount a national campaign. Donald Trump has already secured the Republican nomination, but Joe Biden still has to vanquish Bernie Sanders. With delayed primaries and a delayed convention, Biden will be fighting a two-front war until August.
The flip side is that a delayed convention may make it easier to keep the energy of the convention going. A two-month sprint to the election, as opposed to a three-month marathon, may benefit the aging Biden. The shorter span will also help to keep the focus on the Biden campaign since the pandemic curve should be lower by the end of summer.
In any case, it is difficult to see how the Democrats could have kept the July schedule. Social distancing and delayed primaries would have made the convention an iffy prospect.