The Republican and Democratic National Conventions took place last week in North Carolina and the week prior in Wisconsin, respectively. At the Republican National Convention (RNC), incumbent President Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination along with Vice President Mike Pence. At the Democratic Convention (DNC), Joe Biden accepted his nomination together with running mate Kamala Harris.
Both conventions saw changes in their typical format as a result of social distancing precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the DNC, the first day began with speeches by Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders, wherein they each condemned Trump’s presidency and his response to the pandemic.
On the second day, Biden was officially nominated, and Georgia’s own Stacey Abrams delivered a speech calling for change and unity. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter spoke as well, lauding Biden’s experience and calm demeanor.
On the third day of the convention, Senator Kamala Harris urged people to vote in her address, and former President Barack Obama spoke about Biden’s success as his Vice President and Trump’s negative track record. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged voters in the Democratic Party to unite against Trump despite their differences.
In addition, activists against gun violence and supporters of climate change spoke in favor of legislation to address these issues. Finally, on the last day of the DNC, Biden officially accepted the Democratic nomination for the presidency, calling 2020 a “life-changing election” in his acceptance speech.
Tributes on the final night honored Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, and the late Representative John Lewis.
In the following week, the first day of the RNC saw Republican speakers praise Trump’s coronavirus response and call Democrats “radicalized.” South Carolina Senator Tim Scott headlined, and he aggressively spoke down about Biden’s record on policing.
On the second day, First Lady Melania Trump spoke from the White House Rose Garden about her experience as an immigrant in America, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke from Jerusalem in a move that many claim is a possible violation of the Hatch Act which limits certain political activities of federal employees.
For the third day, Mike Pence spoke from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland about heroes such as military service members, first responders and medical professionals.
He also claimed that Biden wants to defund the police. That same day, counselor to Trump Kellyanne Conway spoke on women’s empowerment, saying “for many of us, ‘women’s empowerment’ is not just a slogan.”
On the final day of the RNC, advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, touted her father as the “people’s president,” a tireless leader and a champion for the middle class. He also officially accepted the Republican nomination for president and delivered a speech which included a pitch to black voters and a promise to be “tough on China” if elected.
During Trump’s speech, protests took place outside the White House in opposition to his speech and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Overall, conventions demonstrated the sweeping changes being made in the political landscape as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As November nears, these two events are just the first of many where adjustments must be made, resulting in an ever-shifting race.