Democratic National Convention begins (Ld)

The almost entirely virtual 2020 US Democratic National Convention (DNC) has begun, the four-day event during which the party’s presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate California Senator Kamala Harris will formally accept their nominations.

The quadrennial event began on Monday and will end on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The DNC’s host city this year, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will not see tens of thousands of people gathering for the occasion like in previous years, since the Covid-19 pandemic has forced organizers to scale back the event by moving most of its activities online.

The four-night program themed “Uniting America”, beginning at 9 p.m. and ending at 11 p.m., will be livestreamed on the DNC website and its social media handles, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Originally, the in-person convention with the number of attendees expected to be around 50,000 was planned for July, but organizers postponed it due to safety concerns during the pandemic.

The nominal main venue in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Center, is being used for announcing voting results and as a control centre to coordinate the livestreaming feeds, keeping the number of people on-site below 250 following an ordinance by city authorities that also requests the wearing of masks in indoor and outdoor public places.

Guest speakers for the inaugural day, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, and Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont.

According to the DNC, each night of the convention will feature “both live and curated content originating from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country”.

Party business will occur remotely during the daytime, with caucus and council meetings scheduled throughout.

Biden will give his acceptance speech on Thursday night and Harris will deliver hers on Wednesday night.

The DNC comes as a latest Washington Post-ABC News poll found Biden leading Trump by 53 per cent to 41 per cent among registered voters.

As Democrats look to boost Biden with the convention, Trump and the Republican Party have scheduled many counter-programings, on and off line, in several battleground states this week, including Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Arizona.

On Monday, Trump travelled to Wisconsin and Minnesota to deliver remarks on jobs and the economy.

He will campaign in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, where he is expected to take on Biden hours before he officially accepts the Democratic nomination.

Democrats launched a cable TV ad Monday calling Trump’s visit to Wisconsin “a political stunt that’s putting human lives at risk,” reported Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday.

The ad by the DNC starts by discussing Trump’s June rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the spike in coronavirus cases in that city in the weeks afterward.

“Now Trump is coming to Wisconsin for a political stunt that puts you at risk,” the narrator says in the ad.

The President’s campaign also put up digital billboards in Milwaukee mocking Biden for not appearing in person at the DNC.

“Where’s Joe?” the billboards ask.