Party Leaders Consider Canceling 2020 Democratic National Convention Over Coronavirus

Demonstrators make their way around downtown, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia, during the first day of the Democratic National Convention. On Sunday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., announced she would step down as DNC chairwoman at the end of the party's convention, after some of the 19,000 emails, presumably stolen from the DNC by hackers, were posted to the website Wikileaks. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Demonstrators make their way around downtown, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia, during the first day of the Democratic National Convention. On Sunday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., announced she would step down as DNC chairwoman at the end of the party’s convention, after some of the 19,000 emails, presumably stolen from the DNC by hackers, were posted to the website Wikileaks. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

 

Fox News is reporting that party leaders are thinking about canceling the 2020 Democratic National Convention which is currently scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, WI. According to Fox, “prominent Democrats ranging from senior members of Congress to the party’s likely presidential nominee himself now say the coronavirus social distancing restrictions that have upended campaigning may also cancel the Democrats’ marquee 2020 event.”

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) told Fox, “I’m not sure we’re going to have a convention. I think both parties are very likely, I hope, to agree on postponing the convention or doing something that won’t bring thousands of people together to kill each other ultimately with COVID-19.”

In a Tuesday night interview, Biden told MSNBC,  “It’s hard to envision that. Again, we should listen to the scientists. Who knows by the time we get into…June, July, August, September what it’s going to look like.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) spoke to Fox on Tuesday. She said, “I think the DNC and the RNC both have to evaluate all of their options. But we need to pray that we get through this quickly, but we also need to very carefully consider any large gatherings for the next year.”

Both President Trump and Biden have said they would like the conventions to happen. (The RNC is set for August 24-27 in Charlotte, NC.)

Biden had strong momentum after his huge win in South Carolina and kept it going through Super Tuesday and beyond. However, since the quarantine began, Biden’s been operating out of his home, and his momentum appears to have come to a screeching halt. He speaks to the press and holds interviews, but each event has been marred by obvious signs of his cognitive decline.

The choice of Milwaukee, WI as the location for the Democratic convention was not an accident. President Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin in 2016 by a .77% margin (47.22% to 46.45%). Trump was the first Republican to win the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

In fact, for Trump, Wisconsin was the “tipping point” state. When Wisconsin was called for him, its 10 electoral votes put Trump’s total at 270, the number required to win the presidency.

Democrats were hoping they could generate enough excitement during their convention to put the state firmly back into the blue column. Biden may win the state anyway. He’s likely more popular than Hillary Clinton there and her biggest mistake was taking the state for granted. Had she campaigned there, it might have made a difference.

The Wisconsin primary is scheduled for April 7, and so far, it has not been canceled.

Katie Peters, communications director for the Democratic National Convention Committee, issued a statement which read:

As we navigate the unprecedented challenge of responding to the coronavirus, we’re exploring a range of contingency options to ensure we can deliver a successful convention without unnecessary risk to public health. This is a very fluid situation — and the convention is still more than three months away. We are committed to sharing updates with the public in the coming weeks and months as our plans continue to take shape.

Cleaver told Fox that Sanders would have to agree to cancel the convention so no one thinks, “Bernie Sanders got the short end of the stick.” Why would they think that?

Apparently, Bernie still believes he has a path to the nomination.

My concern is that canceling the convention would make it easier for the DNC to perform a sleight of hand and suddenly announce that Hillary Clinton will be the new nominee. Separately, rumor has it that, if drafted, Cuomo would not run.

Biden currently has 1,217 delegates compared to 914 for Sanders.