Dustin Chambers / Getty Images

This year’s Democratic National Convention promised to be an extravaganza here in Milwaukee. Instead, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the convention was almost entirely virtual with speakers joining in from places around the country.


The 2020 Democratic National Convention was historic in many ways. For the first time, the convention was held virtually due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. On Wednesday night California Senator Kamala Harris was the first Black and Asian-American woman to accept the nomination for Vice President in a major party.

Lake Effect contributor Art Cyr takes a historical look at what the office of Vice President represents in his essay, “The Democrats and Party Conventions”.

Marti Mikkelson / WUWM

Several hundred people gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee Thursday on the final night of the mostly virtual Democratic National Convention. Originally, it was going to be held in person in Milwaukee. The protesters rallied and then marched through the streets near the Wisconsin Center, as former Vice President Joe Biden got ready to deliver his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware.

Democrats have to be very happy with what they were able to accomplish this week with their convention.

Their production of the first all-virtual convention went off mostly without a hitch. At times, the last night seemed like whiplash with a serious segment on faith and forgiveness followed by snark from emcee Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for example.

Kamala Harris made history with her formal nomination as the first Black woman and person of Asian descent on a major party's national ticket.

The 55-year-old California senator used much of her first prime-time address as Joe Biden's running mate to tell her own story before turning her fire on President Trump.

Former President Barack Obama, who has mostly stayed on the sidelines as Democrats blasted President Trump's policies over the past 3 1/2 years, took off the gloves and questioned Trump's fitness for the job.

Screenshot / Democratic National Convention

Wednesday marks day three of the Democratic National Convention.

One of the sessions focused on turning out the Spanish speaking vote. It’s a segment of the population that both Democrats and Republicans have deemed essential.

Wisconsin state Rep. and Milwaukee Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa opened the session, laying out why she believes President Trump does not deserve the Latino vote. 

Noel / stock.adobe.com

The Democratic National Convention was expected to have a $200 million economic impact in Milwaukee. In the days following the announcement that Milwaukee beat out its competitors to host the DNC, there was a lot of energy and excitement, especially among those hoping to get a piece of that $200 million pie.

Maayan Silver

After Tuesday night’s roll call at the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden is officially the Democratic candidate for president of the United States. And during the broadcast of the convention itself, Milwaukee and Wisconsin got some time in the virtual spotlight.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called the convention to order at the Wisconsin Center Tuesday night in front of a cobalt blue background and framed by two American and two Wisconsin flags.

“I would love to be welcoming you to my home city right now,” said Barrett.

Stephen Voss & Allison Shelley / NPR

The Democratic National Convention is happening this week and while Milwaukee is still considered the host city, the vast majority of the convention is happening digitally because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. But the convention isn’t the only part of this election that has been fundamentally different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything from campaigning to debating will be different from anything we’ve seen before.

Chuck Quirmbach

Republican Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak at noon Wednesday at a metal fabricating firm in Walworth County, Wis. The Tankcraft Corporation in the village of Darien makes fuel tanks and other products.

One of the company owners is board chair of a Wisconsin conservative think tank, and says he promotes liberty and individual rights.

The Trump campaign says Pence is scheduled to discuss “the failure of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to put American workers first.”   

After former first lady Michelle Obama's foreboding address Monday about the consequences of a second term for President Trump, and her urgent appeal that people "vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it," the second night of the Democratic National Convention focused on building the case for how Biden would restore a country struggling in an economic and public health crisis.

Becca Schimmel

The Democratic National Convention was supposed to include 15,000 volunteers until the coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be a virtual convention. A few weeks before the DNC was set to begin in Milwaukee many of the volunteers were told they would no longer be needed. 

Maayan Silver

On Monday, the Democratic National Convention kicked off virtually. Very little is happening at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee’s downtown and most speeches are being broadcast remotely with a mix of live and pre-recorded videos.

To get a little sense of what conventions are generally like, we spoke with state Rep. Lakeshia Myers, one of Joe Biden’s delegates in Wisconsin. Myers was also a delegate for Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia in 2016.

Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Democratic National Convention was expected to draw the world’s attention to Milwaukee. But the city only received a brief mention during the now-virtual event’s 8-10 p.m. primetime programming on Monday.

“We had hoped to have our convention in the City of Festivals, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this year,” Actress Eva Longoria, who served as the emcee of the night, said in her introduction. “Of course, we’re not able to do that.”

Marti Mikkelson

Republican President Donald Trump held a rally in Oshkosh Monday as the Democratic National Convention was beginning in Milwaukee. He made remarks at a hangar at Wittman Regional Airport. About 1,000 people attended the event. They sat close together and only about half wore masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Many wore “Make America Great Again” hats and waved signs that read “Trump 2020.”