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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Many of this year's on-the-fly convention innovations — including Democrats' virtual roll-call road trip and Republicans' use of the White House for political pageantry — may well outlast the pandemic.

Why it matters: Conventions have entered a new era where the TV show will push aside many of the parties' charming but archaic traditions.

The big picture: These pandemic-constrained conventions caught the populist winds of the moment.

  • The breakout stars weren't politicians: they were a teen with a stutter and pardoned criminals, grieving parents and spouses, immigrants and Black men challenging stereotypes.
  • President Trump's stagecraft further diminished the expectation that U.S. presidents should separate raw politics from governance. Future presidents will have more running room — unless lawsuits or investigations curb the experiment.

The bottom line: Presidential nominating conventions once were about messaging to party insiders to secure consensus. They haven't been that for decades — but this year's experiments finally gave both parties permission to cast aside the pretense and go straight to the voters.

Go deeper: The most viral 2020 national convention stories

Go deeper

The most viral 2020 national convention stories

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The most viral stories about the Republican convention were largely about non-political speakers, while the Democratic convention stories focused on the political leaders who were the official stars of the convention, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: The GOP convention in particular highlighted how speakers from outside of the political arena who haven't been bloodied and bruised by political fights were most effective at setting social media on fire.

Updated 14 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

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