Apr 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DNC postpones convention until August due to coronavirus outbreak

The 2016 Democratic convention. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The global pandemic is changing the fundamentals of the 2020 presidential election, and any snags in the process have the potential to help President Trump's re-election efforts.

What they're saying: "During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders," said Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.

The state of play: In mid-March, DNC chairman Tom Perez told "Axios on HBO" that he wasn't even entertaining the idea of canceling the July convention and replacing it with a virtual one.

  • Now, three weeks later, the sudden change in plans reflects the severity of this public health crisis.

Background: The Democratic convention was originally scheduled for July 13–16 in Milwaukee. The party's new plans for mid-August would put its convention just a week before the Republican National Convention, which is set for Aug. 24–27.

  • At least 15 states have had to postpone their primary contests by weeks and months because the coronavirus outbreak is forcing voters to stay inside and away from large groups.
  • The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia had an estimated 50,000 visitors and generated $230 million for the city.
  • Wisconsin's Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has issued a stay-at-home order because of the virus, and a new study suggests the virus will hit the state hardest in late April.

Joe Biden, who is expected to win the nomination, hinted Wednesday night when he appeared on "The Tonight Show" that he expects the convention to be postponed until August.

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Go deeper

RNC outlines safety proposal for Charlotte convention

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel and convention President and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly outlined the party's safety proposal for this summer's planned convention in Charlotte in a letter to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.

Why it matters: Earlier this week, Trump threatened to relocate the convention — which is expected to draw around 50,000 people — if the state's Democratic governor restricts capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cooper has maintained that he will rely on state health officials to decide how a convention will be managed.

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

In photos: Protests intensify across the U.S. over George Floyd's death

Protesters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 29. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Mass protests in Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C., sparked clashes with police on Friday, as demonstrators demanded justice for the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after at least one police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

The big picture: The officer involved in the killing of Floyd was charged with third-degree murder on Friday, after protests continued in Minneapolis for three days.