The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
Whatever was left of an in-person 2020 Democratic National Convention evaporated Wednesday as organizers announced Joe Biden won’t be traveling to Milwaukee to give his presidential acceptance speech.
And neither will any of the other speakers who will address the Aug. 17-20 convention.
With the coronavirus pandemic paralyzing modern politics, Democrats will hold a virtual convention.
Biden will accept the party’s presidential nomination from his home state of Delaware.
Organizers said in a statement that there had been ongoing consultation with public officials and experts. The decision on speakers not traveling to Milwaukee was made “in order to prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention’s production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others necessary to orchestrate the event.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said: “From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first. We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives. That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House.”
While the political logic of picking Milwaukee rested heavily on the urgency Democrats faced in winning back Wisconsin in 2020, the Biden decision is one more blow to the idea that this convention could provide an electoral boost specific to Wisconsin.
It also raises the stakes for the fall campaign as both Biden and President Donald Trump are targeting Wisconsin’s electoral votes.
Biden hasn’t campaigned in person in Wisconsin at all this year, although he has made several virtual campaign appearances aimed at voters here. In 2018, he appeared in Wisconsin on behalf of Democratic candidates.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton campaigned here during the primaries but did not make an appearance during the general election.
That doesn’t say much good about this state’s COVID-19 response under Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, does it? It does seem to render moot the question of whether Evers’ mask order will apply to the DNC, though.
As for hidin’ Biden, Michael Goodwin writes:
On Aug. 4, 2016, Clinton led Trump by nearly 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. That same metric now has Biden up by 7.4 points.
With apologies to Yogi Berra, if Biden isn’t careful, America could wake up in November with that déjà vu feeling all over again.
Just as military generals prepare to fight the last war, political consultants are prone to repeat the same errors that led to defeat before. The big one here is that Biden can play it safe, stay in his basement bunker, and take the oath next January.
For example, Biden has answered questions from the press just twice this summer, and the media obliged him with softball questions. It is notable that Chris Wallace of Fox News, a notoriously tough interview, recently grilled President Trump on his Sunday show, and then followed with an invitation to Biden that was promptly rejected.
The most fanciful part of the hidin’ Biden fantasies is the newest — that he can skip the debates and still get elected. I don’t see how that works.
For one thing, if there is anything voters, and Trump, can smell, it’s fear. And the mere entertaining of the idea that Biden could break with tradition that goes back nearly half a century and take a pass on face-to-face showdowns with his opponent may masquerade as strategy, but it is a sign of fear, plain and simple.
It is the fear that Biden will be unmasked as mentally unfit to be president. His deficiencies are not a secret to those who know him, and general-election voters have a right to see them clearly before they make their final choice for the presidency.
So far, Biden’s team hasn’t suggested he won’t debate Trump, but it is almost certainly something they have thought about. It’s even possible they have given a silent approval to the media Praetorian Guard floating the trial balloon to see if it flies. As of now, it’s still flying, unmolested by any hostile fire from other top Democrats. Where are Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? Where is the Democratic National Committee? Where is Barack Obama on this one?
Their silence shows they, too, want to know if the no-show ruse will work. After all, they, too, must suspect that Biden cannot go for three 90-minute encounters with Trump and emerge intact.
Think what that means: It means the Biden campaign and the entire establishment of the Democratic Party are prepared to foist an impaired man into the Oval Office, uncertain that he can fulfill his duties. Trump Derangement Syndrome has done some strange things to people, but this one takes the cake.
In reality, if it became widely understood among independent voters that the insiders wanted Biden to skip the debates because they knew he wasn’t up to them, that would almost certainly lead to a Trump victory. Put it this way: Why would anyone who isn’t mad with Trump hatred vote for an opponent whose most intimate associates know he can’t do the job?
Although the first televised presidential debate is the most famous — the one between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960 — it wasn’t until 1976, when President Gerald Ford met challenger Jimmy Carter, that debates cemented themselves as a fall requirement. For the last two decades, there have been three each cycle, and one more between running mates.
Some have been enormously consequential, but most matter because they establish a baseline test of competence and readiness. With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on this year’s party conventions, the acceptance speeches by Trump and Biden will lose some of their excitement, giving their debates added significance.
If Biden doesn’t show, that will be conclusive proof that he’s not capable of being president.