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The 2012 Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention Has Been Postponed Due to Coronavirus

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By Robin Zabiegalski

The Democratic National Convention, the gathering at which the Democratic nominee is chosen, was scheduled to happen in July in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, concerns about the coronavirus pandemic led to calls for the convention to be postponed.

The Democratic National Committee was reluctant to postpone the most important event of the primary election season. Before the pandemic escalated, the DNC insisted that the event would continue as scheduled.

But on Thursday, the DNC acknowledged that the current state of the coronavirus crisis makes it impossible to hold the convention in July. They announced that the event would be postponed until the middle of August.

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Top Democrats Called for the Convention to be Postponed

Joe Biden posing for a picture with supporters
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On Wednesday, former Vice-President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden said that he couldn't imagine that the convention would be happening as planned.

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon on his home version of The Tonight Show, Biden said, “I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July, early July. I think it’s going to have to move into August.”

Several other prominent Democrats, including members of the Democratic National Committee, also spoke up, saying that the safest thing to do would be to postpone the election.

Postponed by a Month

2016 Democratic National Convention
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On Thursday morning, the DNC released a statement announcing that they would be postponing the convention to the middle of August.

Joe Solmonese, the CEO of the Convention Committee said, “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."

The statement went on to say that the new dates for the convention would be “the week of August 17.”

A Different Format?

Democratic National Convention
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The DNC also announced in their statement that they would be exploring different formats for the convention to ensure that the event is as safe as possible.

“I have always believed that American innovation and ingenuity shine brightest during our darkest days, and for that reason, I’m confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention... The convention planning team will now use the coming weeks to further explore all options to ensure nominating the next president of the United States is done without unnecessary risk to public health. These options include everything from adjusting the convention's format to crowd size and schedule,” said Solmonese.

What Does This Mean for The Primaries?

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden
Gettyimages | Drew Angerer

15 states and one U.S. territory have postponed their primaries because of coronavirus. Many have moved their primaries to June, hoping that they can either vote in person or figure out a 100% mail-in vote system before then.

Many states were struggling to get their primaries scheduled before the early June deadline imposed by the DNC so that the votes would all be processed before the convention. Postponing the convention gives states who've postponed their primaries more time to ensure their voting is complete and processed prior to the convention.

Postponing the convention also means there's more time for the candidates to fundraise, and there's more time for public opinion to change. Bernie Sanders has been hoping that the current political climate in the midst of the pandemic will work in his favor, perhaps fueling a comeback.

However, more time for campaigning and fundraising may just mean that Biden has more time to solidify his lead.

Only time will tell, and now there's plenty of that.

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