DNC delegate from Madison optimistic about the convention moving to fully virtual format

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and other speakers will not travel to Milwaukee.
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 9:16 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - What was left of the in-person events planned for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee was essentially scrapped Wednesday, after organizers announced presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will not travel to Milwaukee in order to keep speakers and the community safe.

Milwaukee first won its bid to host the DNC back in March of 2019. In April, organizers pushed the event to August. In June, the decision was made to have state delegates attend virtually.

DNC delegate from Madison, Awais Khaleel, said they expected this kind of decision in light of COVID-19.

“Some of the excitement of being around hundreds of thousands of people is going to be missing, but I think we are all finding ways to stay connected throughout the week,” he said.

The event, originally expected to bring in about 50,000 visitors to Milwaukee, is now confined to a computer screen, but Khaleel said he remains optimistic.

“I actually think given how much we have been talking, whether it’s through email or zoom calls every couple of days, we are actually meeting more than we would have if not for this quarantine,” he said.

This will be Khaleel’s second go around at being a delegate, and his third time at a convention. With the usual crowds being taken out of the equation, capturing the energy for the upcoming November election could be a challenge.

“That’s the million dollar question that dozens, hundreds of organizers, regardless of who you are supporting, are trying to figure out,” he said.

In a COVID-19 world, the DNC has scaled back several times- from changing dates, trimming down the hours, to now going remote. Delegates will cast ballots virtually, watching Joe Biden accept his nomination from home.

“In some ways, in trying to make up for what we’ve lost, we might actually be able to do more,” Khaleel said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett backed the decision to change course, saying public safety comes first.

“I think the message to everyone is we are going to live to fight another day, and we are going to promote this city, because I think they did make the right choice,” Barrett said in a virtual press conference Wednesday.

Delegates like Khaleel believe battleground state Wisconsin will remain key to the election, regardless of what happens with the convention.

“Wisconsin and Milwaukee in particular are going to be central to frankly both major party campaigns,” he said.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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