COVID-19 changing the look of Democratic & Republican conventions

A week before the Republican National Convention comes to Jacksonville, the Democrats will hold their convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and while it’s been planned for two years, Democratic National Convention planners are running into issues much like the RNC planners.

The key issue is the novel coronavirus. The DNC hoped for 50,000 people to attend, but now some are saying it could be as little as 300 people. The are concerns about protests because, much like the RNC in Jacksonville, no one knows who will be coming and how many will participate.

One thing is for certain. The DNC will be a much different venue than what was originally planned.

“It’s an entirely downscaled convention,” said Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has been covering politics for years. “They expected a four day political extravaganza, and now the convention is going to be a fraction of the size. It’s going to be mostly virtual.”

Delegates won’t be on hand during the DNC, and Joe Biden will be giving his acceptance speech to a small crowd.

“I think they are doing this on the fly in terms of convention organizers,” Glauber said. “Nobody has really ever put together a virtual event like that. So they’re basically scrapping the old playbook to a new playbook.”

In Milwaukee, like in Jacksonville, the plan is to test anyone for the virus who will be going inside the convention itself. While the number of attendees will be much smaller than the number expected in Jacksonville, security there is still a big issue.

“There were going to be thousands of police from other jurisdictions,” Glauber said.

Jacksonville’s plan for security will be discussed tomorrow during a special City Council meeting at 10 a.m. Friday.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.