The Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee was originally going to host around 50,000 attendants. According to American Public Media, the city spent ten million dollars to prepare for the event, which was initially predicted to infuse about 200 million dollars into the city’s economy.
But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced in June that the convention would be moving almost entirely online. A significant number of the in-person speakers in Milwaukee are Wisconsin politicians, including U.S. Congresswoman for Milwaukee Gwen Moore and Governor Tony Evers.
Robert Baumann, the Milwaukee alderman who represents downtown Milwaukee, says the Wisconsin Center, where the convention is theoretically being held, is serving more as a tech and media center than as the actual location of the convention.
“It seems that the majority of the people here, who aren’t residents of the city already, are technical people, IT People, party staff and various types of workers who are involved in the production side versus any political or policy side,” he says.
Last night, after a virtual roll call, Joe Biden accepted the nomination for the Democratic candidacy from the convention’s delegates. The roll call, like most of the events at the convention, was conducted virtually, with delegates calling in from their respective states.
The unique cultural traits of each of the states was on full display: the delegation from Rhode Island featured a chef holding a plate of calamari, the representative from Arizona presented that state’s votes in front of a cluster of cacti and American Samoa’s delegates cast their votes from a beach while wearing floral print shirts.
Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, one of the few Milwaukee-based speakers at the convention, delivered Wisconsin’s nomination.
“In the pursuit of a more just future, Wisconsin casts thirty votes for Bernie Sanders and 67 for the next President of the United States of America: Joseph R. Biden,” Barnes said.
Biden accepted the nomination remotely from his home state of Delaware.
“Thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart, thank you all. It means the world to me and my family and I’ll see you on Thursday,” Biden told the crowd as Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate Good Times” played over the video call.
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has seized on the Democrat’s lack of an in-person convention. On Monday, the President made a campaign stop in Oshkosh. Yesterday Eric Trump spoke to the Milwaukee Police Association and today Vice President Mike Pence addressed a crowd at Tankcraft Corporation in Darien, just an hour southwest of Milwaukee.
In his speech, Pence took a swing at the Convention and newly nominated Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
“You know I heard on the way here that Joe Biden hasn’t actually been to Wisconsin in 659 days,” Pence told the crowd.
Today’s Convention will conclude with speeches from Governor Evers, Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris. The evening will also include musical performances from Billie Eilish and Jennifer Hudson.
(Feature image c/o Democratic National Convention on Flickr)