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Dems Double Down, Announce First-Ever Virtual Convention

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Democrats will hold an almost entirely virtual presidential nominating convention from Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee using live broadcasts and online streaming, party officials said Wednesday.

Joe Biden plans to accept the presidential nomination in person, but it remains to be seen whether there will be a significant in-person audience there to see it.

The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that official business, including the votes to nominate Biden and his yet-to-be-named running mate, will take place virtually, with delegates being asked not to travel to Milwaukee.

Biden and the party have abandoned the usual trappings of an event that draws tens of thousands of people to the host city to mark the start of the general election campaign.

Not even during the Civil War or World War II did one of the two major parties abandon in-person conventions.

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Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said the drastically altered convention won’t be an impediment.

“Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee and take the next step forward towards making Donald Trump a one-term president,” she said, adding that Biden’s campaign will continue to highlight Wisconsin as a key battleground state.

Democrats had suggested before Wednesday that they’d curtail convention activities, including when Party Chairman Tom Perez pushed back the original convention dates.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi will serve as convention chair, party officials said.

Will a virtual convention hurt Biden's campaign?

Perez said scaling back Democrats’ festivities is a matter of public health.

“Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people,” Perez said.

Trump has pushed for a return to normalcy and a traditional convention in North Carolina, clashing with the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper.

The Republican National Committee has confirmed its official business will be conducted in Charlotte. But Trump has said he plans to accept his nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, because Cooper wouldn’t guarantee Republicans the ability to host a full-capacity event in Charlotte’s NBA arena.

Besides events in Wisconsin, Democrats plan other events in satellite locations around the country to broadcast as part of the convention.

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