NC Democrats expect DNC to deliver same excitement, even if virtual

Monday, August 17, 2020
NC Democrats expect DNC to deliver same excitement, even if virtual
The Democratic Party will convene, sort of, amid a pandemic that has upended the usual pomp-and-circumstance of presidential nominating conventions.

Venues may change but the mission stays the same.

"It's about energizing the base, it's about reaching undecided voters and it's about creating an atmosphere of excitement," Rep. GK Butterfield (D-North Carolina) said. "As Joe Biden says all the time, this is a battle for the soul of our nation. Now we're fewer than 80 days left (until the election) and we have to make every single one of them count."

SCHEDULE: Democratic National Convention begins Monday night

Butterfield, the longtime congressman and leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is among hundreds of North Carolina Democrats who earlier this year had plans to travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the original sight planned for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The COVID-19 Pandemic, of course, changed those plans and forced organizers to first delay the convention by a month and then scrap it altogether in favor of an virtual affair.

Still, Butterfield says, Democrats aim to deliver the pomp even without the balloons and collector's pins.

"The theme of this convention is uniting America. I know that will be a strong overreaching and overarching conversation of how do we unite and stop dividing people. Donald Trump has been a master at division."

Former first lady Michelle Obama will keynote Monday night's opening to the convention, after remaining mostly on the sidelines throughout the 2020 political season.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the former rival of presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican candidate for president in 2016, will also speak.

Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will also take the mic over the course of the four day event, as will Joe Biden's wife, Jill, and the presumptive Vice Presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris (D-California).

Joe Biden will headline the convention's final night on Thursday.

As for the target audience, ABC News Political Rick Klein says don't expect to see a lot of outreach to progressives.

" It's the Biden coalition," Klein said. "It's not the AOC (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) coalition or (Bernie) Sanders coalition. He won the primary in his own way and the convention speakers reflect that different way in how he won."

Instead, Klein explains, the messaging of unity is directed at those who don't even consider themselves Democrats.

"The sweet spot is voters who aren't engaged in the process one way or the other and however you want to define them, that's who you want to get at a convention. You're reaching a national audience that's broader than people who tune into politics every day."