Biden Won’t Travel to Milwaukee to Accept Democrat Presidential Nomination

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking at Super Tuesday campaign event in Los Angeles.

Joe Biden won’t be traveling to Milwaukee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

And neither will any of the other speakers who will address the Aug. 17-20 convention, which will be virtual.

Convention organizers said Wednesday that Biden will accept the party’s presidential nomination from his home in Delaware.

Biden’s campaign had previously said he intended to be at the convention.

In a statement, organizers said: “After ongoing consultation with public health officials and experts — who underscored the worsening coronavirus pandemic — the Democratic National Convention Committee announced today speakers for the 2020 Democratic National Convention will no longer travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in order to prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention’s production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others necessary to orchestrate the event.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said: “From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first. We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives. That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House.”

The Milwaukee convention is now just a shell of what was originally envisioned.

RELATED:‘It’s just so depressing’: Democratic National Convention is barely on Milwaukee leaders’ minds

When the city landed the event more than a year ago, it was hoped that 50,000 people would travel to Milwaukee for four non-stop days and nights of politics.  

But the coronavirus pandemic upended plans. The original conventions dated were moved back a month. Delegates were told to stay away.

And now, there won’t even be any speakers in Milwaukee.

“While we wish we could move forward with welcoming the world to beautiful Milwaukee in two weeks, we recognize protecting the health of our host community and everyone involved with this convention must be paramount,” Joe Solmonese, the convention’s chief executive said in a statement. 

Solmonese added: “This convention will look different than any previous convention in history. It will reach more people than ever before, and truly be a convention across America for all Americans, regardless of which party you belong to or who you’ve voted for in previous elections. This ‘unconventional convention’ will launch Joe Biden to victory in November.”

Milwaukee Ald. Robert  Bauman said he wasn’t surprised by the announcement.

“You just wonder what’s the point of all of this work?” he said.

“Wow,” was the reaction of political scientist Byron Shafer, a retired University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and a scholar of conventions, to the news that Biden would not be present here.

“That was really all that was left” of a traditional convention, Shafer said of Biden’s now canceled-plans to accept the nomination in Milwaukee.

The political question now looming for both parties is whether they can command anything approximating a normal audience as they remotely nominate their presidential candidates amid the pandemic this month. 

“The president himself isn’t going to Charlotte.  He’s not going to Jacksonville. Now the Democratic nominee is not coming” to Wisconsin, Shafer said. “If you were an audience member with a mild interest in politics, that might signal to you this isn’t worth it all, (that) you’re not going to spend 5 hours the week of the convention watching the (video) feed.”

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