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Photo by DNCC via Getty Images. Photo: Handout/DNCC via Getty Images

Last night's historic debut of the virtual Democratic National Convention gave Americans a taste of what politics looks like without the big crowds.

Why it matters: Without the glamour of a convention stage, many of the speeches felt flat. The major exception was Michelle Obama's speech, which stood out as the most compelling fifteen minutes of the night by far.

How it looked: The virtual event featured far more voices and faces of everyday Americans, but the videos made for less compelling TV.

  • The mostly-taped event left little little room for funny gaffes or inter-personal moments, like handshakes and hugs, although several tech issues during live shots provided some of that touch.

Who aired it: MSNBC and CNN carried the full convention from roughly 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fox News ran Sean Hannity's show from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m and then took the convention live in the 10 p.m. hour. Hannity played parts of speeches and commented on them with panelists on his show.

Our thought bubble: It was clear that some of the virtual cuts were built for social moments, but few really went viral. The biggest social media moment was probably Michelle Obama's speech.

Get the latest with Axios' DNC dashboard.

Go deeper

Aug 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

2020 elections: TV ratings were down for both the RNC and DNC

Data: Nielsen; Note: Night one of the 2008 and 2012 conventions were pushed due to hurricanes; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Increasing partisanship, competing streaming options and the mostly virtual nature of this year's programming may help explain why TV ratings for both conventions were way down compared with 2016.

Why it matters: Ratings are not a proxy for popularity or voter enthusiasm, but they do provide a loose sense of which party and figures are capturing the attention of the country.

11 mins ago - Podcasts

How hospitals are prepping for the new COVID-19 surge

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging, particularly in areas that had been largely spared this spring. One big question now is whether hospitals are better prepared for this new wave, including if they'll be able to continue providing elective services.

Axios Re:Cap digs into what hospitals have, and what they still need, with Lloyd Dean, CEO of CommonSpirit Health, one of America's largest operators of hospitals and health clinics.

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — U.S. sets new single-day case record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local cases.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.