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Kentucky Delegates Watch Democratic National Convention From Home

Biden_Obama
Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons
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Joe Biden and Barack Obama in Springfield, Illinois, right after Biden was formerly introduced by Obama as his running mate

Murray State University professor Brian Clardy was excited to go to Milwaukee for the Democratic National Convention this year, his second experience as a delegate.

But as with just about everything else this year, he's attending virtually.

“You miss the pomp and the pageantry, you miss the flourishes and the noisemakers and the signs and the crazy hats and the crazy outfits and the applause lines,” Clardy said.

The convention began on Monday night and featured a series of live and pre-taped speeches from Democratic politicians and supporters and will continue through Thursday.

But the arena full of noisy delegates is taking this election cycle off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Clardy says he hopes that the socially distanced convention allows people to engage better with the substance of the speeches.

“I think that’s going to resonate very well with folks who tune in. They can actually concentrate on the message and not be distracted by the flourishes,” Clardy said.

The main business of the convention—formally nominating a presidential candidate—will take place on Tuesday night, with each state and territory selecting a delegate to vote by video.

Kentucky’s designee will be education advocate Colmon Elridge, who worked in former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear will be featured on a panel with other Democratic governors from “red and purple states” on Thursday night.

Josh Mers, chair of the Fayette County Democratic Party, says he hopes the convention encourages people to get active in the political process, even during the pandemic.

“I think it’s an opportunity to instill a little bit of energy that may be missing from not having in-person rallies and events. I think it gets us geared up and really sets us on the course for November 3rd,” Mers said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden won Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary election this year with 68% of the vote.

The Republican National Convention will begin next Monday.

Disclosure: In addition to being a Democratic delegate and assistant professor of history at Murray State University, Brian Clardy is the host of Cafe Jazz at WKMS, which is part of the Kentucky Public Radio Network

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.