WASHINGTON, D.C. (FNN NEWS) – Following a spike in Florida coronavirus cases, President Trump canceled all Jacksonville RNC events.
The Republican National Convention, scheduled to take place August 24-27, has been in a state of contention for several months.
The convention was originally slated to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, when North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that there would be a much limited capacity, a showdown ensued between him, the President, and the RNC.
The decision was made to move the majority of the convention to another city that would host a larger event.
Several cities vied for the spot, including Orlando, Nashville, and Jacksonville. Ultimately, Jacksonville was chosen because of its accessible location and several large scale stadium venues.
In recent weeks, however, the coronavirus situation worsened in Florida, with transmissions and infections setting records–enough to convince President Trump that it’s “not the right time” to hold such a large event. The convention will return entirely to Charlotte, albeit much limited in scale and schedule.
The National Party Conventions transpired without fail for over 200 years. As a reminder, party conventions are where official votes are made for presidential candidates, and where the winning candidate is nominated to run in the general election.
Presidential primaries happened from February to August for both parties this year. Voters in each state selected their preferred presidential nominee, with winners receiving a certain amount of delegates.
Delegates are chosen citizens that go to the national conventions and officially cast their vote for candidates. Much like the Electoral College, in which electors from each state travel to D.C. to officially vote for the President.
A Republican candidate needs 1,237 out of 2,472 delegates to win the nomination.
A Democratic candidate needs 1,991 out of 3,979 delegates to win the nomination.
Vice President Joe Biden currently has 2,627 pledged delegates, all but guaranteeing him the nomination.
President Trump currently has 2,367, winning in an expected landslide.
The Convention in Charlotte will be small, with only about 300 delegates being invited, and will consist mainly of the official voting proceedings. All the pomp and circumstance of a traditional convention will have to be reimagined in either smaller venues or on online platforms.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are trying to plan their own convention. Scheduled from August 17-20 in Milwaukee, it will be mostly virtual, but with some small events on the ground. Vice President Joe Biden plans to be there to accept the nomination.
This is an election season unlike any other, and that leaves historians, statisticians, pollsters, and candidates without precedent. Not only is the presidential election hampered, but every federal, state, and local election is being altered.
Traditional outreach tactics like meet and greets, door to door canvassing, and fundraisers are being blocked by government restrictions and public fear. Candidates across the country are trying to reach voters digitally, but the effects that will have on the election are unclear.
Two pandemics from the last century compare to COVID-19. The Spanish Flu in 1918 that killed over 600,000 Americans, and the H2N2 Flu in 1957, that killed over 100,000. However, neither of these happened in a presidential election year.
For the first time in our nation’s history, we are in the middle of a digital election. National Conventions have been dismantled to bare bones. Candidates are struggling to reach communities. Voters are sending in more mail-in ballots than ever before. It’s unprecedented, and any speculation about the results of this election cycle will be just that, speculation. But it will be incredibly interesting to see what happens.
Marcos Barrios is a Florida National News contributing writer. The avid writer and musician is passionate about politics and entertainment in Florida and abroad.