KEY POINTS

  • Democratic National Convention will now be held during the week of Aug. 17
  • This may prompt louder calls for Sen. Sanders to exit the primary race
  • The Republican National Convention will still be held Aug. 24 to 27

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Democratic National Convention has been rescheduled for the week of Aug. 17. Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Joe Solmonese said that doing so is “the smartest approach.” The convention was originally planned to be held July 13 to 17 in Milwaukee.

Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said in a statement that “leadership means being able to adapt, and that’s exactly what our party is doing … Ultimately, the health and safety of our convention attendees and the people of Milwaukee is our top priority.”

The decision to postpone the event followed remarks from former Vice President and presidential hopeful Joe Biden earlier this week in which he suggested that the current crisis may warrant a rescheduling.

The change of plans raises the question of what effect it will have on the ongoing Democratic presidential primary race. Currently, Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., remain the only two candidates in the contest, with Wisconsin being the next state to hold its primary.

Biden supporters are likely to pile pressure on Sanders to withdraw from the race after the announcement. Sanders has previously vowed to remain in the race until the convention. With the convention now coming less than two months before the national election, those urging Sanders to drop out may argue that if he waits, it will be difficult to unite the party in such a short time.

Sanders, however, is likely to continue to resist such calls. Since the fall, his campaign has been leading the Democratic candidate fundraising crowd; in February, Sanders pulled in nearly  $170 million from donors. Biden, by contrast, brought in less than $90 million.

Although Sanders is currently trailing Biden by over 300 pledged delegates, around 2,500 remain to be allocated over the coming months. Between that and his continued fundraising successes, it’s probable that the senator will continue to argue that exiting the race would be premature.

The exact dates of the Democratic National Convention have yet to be announced. The Republican National Convention remains scheduled for Aug. 24 to 27.

Democratic presidential hopefuls former US vice president Joe Biden (L) and Senator Bernie Sanders greet each other with a safe elbow bump before the start of the Democratic presidential debate on March 15, 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls former US vice president Joe Biden (L) and Senator Bernie Sanders greet each other with a safe elbow bump before the start of the Democratic presidential debate on March 15, 2020 Photo: AFP / Mandel NGAN