A Tale of Two Conventions

A Tale of Two Conventions


By Pat Kreitlow

June 24, 2020

Dems embrace virtual options. GOP host committee doctor steps down.

Events on Wednesday demonstrated the national political divide that has emerged here in the U.S., unlike almost anyplace else in the world, over the ways in which the coronavirus outbreak will be handled by those who embrace scientific guidance and those who eschew even masks as a basic safeguard, much less large, packed crowds.

The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday evening that state delegations will not be coming to Milwaukee, as the convention leaves the 17,000-seat Fiserv Forum for the Wisconsin Center convention facilities about five blocks away. 

Presumptive nominee Joe Biden will almost certainly still appear in Milwaukee to formally accept the party nomination, Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Ben Wikler told UpNorthNews last week.

It is not yet clear who will be taking part in festivities at the Wisconsin Center, but officials say it will be the centerpiece of a virtual convention that features live content from other locations around the country, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The actual voting to affirm Biden’s nomination and that of his vice presidential running mate will be done remotely.

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez released a statement saying, “Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation. That’s exactly what we’ve done with our convention. Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people.”

“Everything is on the line this November, which is why we must find creative and forward-looking ways to organize, mobilize, and unite our party around our shared values at the convention so that we can launch Joe Biden to victory this fall,” Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention, said in the announcement, as reported by The Hill.

The New York Times reports Democrats had brought on board two epidemiologists to advise officials on best health practices for the convention.

Meanwhile, the Florida doctor who runs UF Health Jacksonville is leaving the host committee organizing the partially-relocated Republican National Convention, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record. Dr. Leon Haley, Jr. is the second person on the 32-member group to leave the host committee, formed abruptly when President Trump decided he would not honor a commitment to the original Republican Party choice, Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Haley said he still intends to provide guidance for the Republican event but must focus on the medical facility and its role during the Aug. 24-27 event. 

Florida on Wednesday reported its largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases: 5,508. More than 31,000 cases, or almost 30 percent of all Florida cases, have been reported in the last 10 days, according to the Miami Herald.

Florida has looser restrictions on crowd sizes than North Carolina, a key reason why the President broke with the party’s choice of Charlotte after the state’s Democratic governor would not guarantee that the arena at the Spectrum Center would be packed with cheering Trump supporters. 

Trump spoke Tuesday at an Arizona megachurch where very few in the packed hall were wearing protective masks even as the state had another record day for new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. As reported by Politico, Arizona reported 3,591 new cases, nearly doubling its daily case count from last week, and 42 related deaths. And hospitalizations exceeded 2,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.

Politico reports that when Trump mentioned what he called “the plague,” he dismissed it.

“It’s going away,” he said.


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.

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