HARTFORD, CT — The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday, but unlike any other year, the events were virtual and all of the delegates stayed home and didn’t travel to Milwaukee.
This year the party’s presidential nominee, Joe Biden, won’t be in Milwaukee to accept the nomination Thursday.
Connecticut’s 74 delegates to the convention did not travel to Wisconsin, but they will be gathering Thursday at the Hartford Yardgoats Stadium to watch Biden accept the nomination.
However, Democrats like Steve Jewett, who has helped run the convention podium for five conventions, said it won’t be the same.
Jewett was relegated to the sidelines this year because there is no podium to manage.
“It’s going to be more of a TV production than an event,” Jewett said.
There are some things that will remain the same.
Connecticut’s delegation will continue to hold breakfast meetings everyday at 8 a.m. But instead of getting out of bed and down to the hotel lobby, they will be able to attend in their pajamas because the meetings will be virtual.
Patty McQueen, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party, who has been participating in conventions since 1992, said the Monday meeting was well-attended by almost 50 of the 74 delegates to the convention.
McQueen said she spent Monday evening texting with her friend who she always attends the convention with and they agreed it was sort of nice being able to watch in their pajamas, but they missed Stevie Wonder who performs at all the conventions.
A convention is a place for delegates to generate excitement and share ideas, McQueen said. She said it’s also about reconnecting with people you haven’t seen since the previous convention and it’s going to be hard to replicate the excitement of the final night.
On Thursday Biden will accept the nomination virtually.
Jewett said the stage at the Democratic National Convention is a pretty big stage and many of the speakers are very nervous. The message may have been controlled in the past but having an all-virtual campaign allows them to more closely control the message.
He said brokered backroom deals, and in-person meetings were needed back in the day because there wasn’t the technology to make this happen.
However, Jewett doesn’t believe it will remain an all virtual event. He said there’s a desire to physically be together and he anticipates it will be held in person as soon as it’s safe to do that.
“There’s nothing like being there,” Jewett said. “It’s a room full of political junkies coming together for a party—there’s nothing like it.”
The Republican National Convention will also largely be held virtually.
However, six delegates from each state, 336 delegates total, will be present Monday, Aug. 24 to nominate President Donald Trump.
Some of the events for the Democratic National Convention will be streamed. Others will be broadcast on the major networks between 9 and 11 p.m. every night.