A sign advertises the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which will be a largely virtual event due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., August 16, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The Democratic National Convention kicks off tonight. For the first time in U.S. history, however, the Democratic presidential nominee will accept the nomination virtually rather than in front of thousands. A public health order from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett would have restricted an in-person convention to 250 people.

Michelle Obama will headline Monday night’s events. Other speakers for the evening will include Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Actors Eva Longoria, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus will emcee the virtual events. Throughout the week, Hollywood players will host virtual fundraisers in Zoom meetings around the country.

While the Democrats focus to move to a virtual platform was intended to protect those attending the convention, the city of Milwaukee faces a $200 million economic loss as would-be convention-goers stay home. Milwaukee restaurant owner Omar Shaikh called the decision a “gut punch,” saying, “It’s almost like you get the call you (won) the lottery, but you can’t cash the ticket in.” Trump’s campaign additionally put up digital billboards in Milwaukee mocking the virtual convention that asked the question: “Where’s Joe?”

As the Democrats convene online this week, President Donald Trump’s campaign will visit 4 states for campaign events to bolster his position in national polls. Democrats criticized the decision as a public health risk. Ahead of the convention, two polls showed Biden leading with registered voters; while CNN poll published Sunday reported a four-point lead for Biden, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed more than half of the voters polled supported Biden, with a 12-point lead.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Pandemic alters political conventions – which have always changed with the times – The Conversation – 8/17/2020
Politics, like everything else in American life, is being reshaped by the pandemic and by technology. […] These technological adaptations signal a permanent shift in the way nominating conventions meet and the way voters watch them – but it’s not the first time such radical changes have come to politics. Technology has driven change in the presidential nominating process since the earliest days of American parties.

Democrats’ Virtual Campaign Gamble Is Getting Its First Big Test In Wisconsin – Vice – 8/17/2020
But now, as the Democratic National Convention gets set to kick off, it’s the most visible symbol of how the coronavirus has impacted Democrats’ campaign strategy. Democrats are left hoping that a campaign that’s abandoned nearly all face-to-face activity can compete with Republicans, who continue to run an in-person effort to reelect President Trump. And nowhere is this more important or more stark than in Wisconsin, the “home” of Democrats’ now-virtual convention and arguably the most important swing state in the country.

Trump to Give Address Hours Before Biden’s Acceptance Speech – Newsmax – 8/16/2020
Trump’s campaign announced over the weekend that the president is scheduled to deliver remarks at 3 p.m. on “a half century of Joe Biden failing America” in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, just hours before Biden is expected to start his speech from Delaware to accept the party nomination. Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates dismissed the president’s planned remarks as “a pathetic attempt to distract from the fact that Trump’s presidency stands for nothing but crises, lies, and division — the opposite of what Pennsylvanians are hungry for and what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent.”

The triumph of the Nostalgiacrats – Vox – 8/17/2020
Democrats enter the 2020 convention more united on questions of public policy than perhaps at any other time in modern history. […] But in another sense, they remain a party bitterly divided. Two camps have emerged in how they define their opposition to President Donald Trump.

Trump indicates election won’t be ‘fair’ if universal mail-in voting allowed – Fox News – 8/17/2020
In another exchange, the president said Democrats will struggle to unite at their convention this week, as many of the more progressive members of the party balk at a ticket including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. “These are the same people I beat last time and they’re not gonna unite because they can’t unite, they don’t know how to unite,” Trump said. “Also, Bernie [Sanders] is very unhappy, but actually, Biden went further left than Bernie wanted him to and Bernie’s still unhappy.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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