Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee (Photo by Jonathon Sadowski)
Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee (Photo by Jonathon Sadowski)

Democratic National Committee reschedules to August 17, citing coronavirus pandemic

Milwaukee’s chance to be the shining star of Democratic Party politics will have to wait.

The national Democratic Party announced Thursday morning that its national nominating convention will be moved from the week of July 13 to the week of August 17 because of the continuing public health threat caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to a story first filed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The announcement from Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Joe Solmonese reads, in part: “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 city of Milwaukee welcomed our convention team with open arms over a year ago when our convention planning first kicked off. We remain inspired by the people who live and work here, and we remain committed to hosting this historic moment in their hometown,” he continued.

Holding a convention is already a daunting task because of the logistics involved in scheduling floor space, hotels, flights and more for thousands of delegates, guests, press and VIPs. Now those plans will have to be shifted, and even then there may be ongoing challenges or concerns because of the pandemic.

Wisconsin 2nd District Congressman Mark Pocan was holding a previously scheduled conference call with media when the announcement was made.

He said the decision will “give more time to see if you can have a convention and hopefully we will know much more, and we all will know much more by the end of April. So, if they think that’s the best guidance for the convention at this point then I think that’s a good decision.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current frontrunner, indicated this week that the convention could not realistically be held as originally planned. 

“This all makes a tremendous amount of sense, and it’s essential,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

The delay may be positive for those supportive of independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ progressive platform, Kraig said, because it will give Sanders more time to influence Biden and the Democratic party’s more moderate stances.

“I think it’s in Biden’s interest if he’s the nominee to seem to have adopted a number of the planks in order to pull progressives in,” Kraig said.

Wisconsin is a prime target for national Democrats given President Trump’s thin margin of victory here in 2016. The most recent statewide poll by the Marquette University Law School shows Trump and Biden in a statistical dead heat.

“Leadership means being able to adapt, and that’s exactly what our party is doing.” said Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee. “The city of Milwaukee has been an incredible partner, especially over the past few weeks as we’ve confronted this global crisis, and we couldn’t be more committed to highlighting Wisconsin as a key battleground state, as it is at the center of so many of Trump’s broken promises.”

This story will be updated.