What Will Happen to Political Conventions During the Coronavirus?

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People understandably wonder and worry about how the Republican Party will be able to hold anything resembling a traditional political nominating convention in Jacksonville from August 24 to 27. The city just enacted a mask requirement with criminal penalties for violations, intends to run daily coronavirus tests of attendees, is scrambling for funding, and may be missing some elderly GOP figures like Chuck Grassley because of coronavirus fears.

It’s also fair to wonder just what the Democrats will manage to hold with their “virtual convention” in Milwaukee August 17 to 20 if the situation doesn’t improve. Delegates will not attend, but Joe Biden is still scheduled to give his acceptance speech there. Will the Democrats have any gathering of any group at all? Or will it be four nights of speeches that resemble the quiet, applause-free, laughter-free opposition response to the State of the Union Address? The convention has already been moved from the Fiserv Forum basketball arena to the Wisconsin Center . . . a building that just reopened June 30.

The good news is that Wisconsin hasn’t had as many deaths lately, but the state still ranks Milwaukee County as “high” in the number of coronavirus cases. The city characterizes its trend for cases as condition red, or a “statistically significant positive slope” and positivity rate (12.2 percent). (The rate of testing, hospital capacity, and supply of personal protective equipment in the city are in pretty good shape, though.) Milwaukee is contemplating a mask ordinance as well, and some local restaurants are temporarily shutting down after employees tested positive.

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As noted in today’s Morning Jolt, medical researchers believe the mutated version of the virus is much more contagious, but thankfully, not more deadly, than earlier versions. But in that light . . . do Democrats want Joe Biden interacting with anyone who hasn’t been tested recently? And how the heck do you hold a political convention where the nominee can’t interact in person with anyone?


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