Democratic convention has virtual advantages & disadvantages

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SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A South Dakota State University professor says the convention hosted by the Democratic National Committee is striking all the right virtual chords as it enters its third day. Wednesday night, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris will formally accept the nomination as presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate.

The DNC convention’s roll call gave South Dakota a virtual voice in the nomination of Joe Biden as the party’s candidate for president.

“As a first American, and a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, I welcome you to the Paha Sapa, the Black Hills,” convention delegate Kellen Returns From Scout said.

Political experts say the convention’s messaging through a series of video clips is connecting with the intended audience.

“And so far, the Democrats are doing basically what they need to do, in terms of trying to stitch together their coalition,” SDSU Associate Professor of Political Science David Wiltse said.

The intimate nature of a virtual convention can have its own audience appeal in the absence of a sprawling arena filled with enthusiastic delegates.

“Conventions remind people of their partisan identification and it really brings home in terms of their normal political patterns and this might be depressed, to an extent, simply because we are dealing with a much narrower audience nowadays, especially under this virtual convention,” Wiltse said.

While Democrats are making history holding the first-ever virtual national convention, Wiltse doesn’t think it will be a political trend that will last beyond the pandemic. He expects traditional in-person conventions will eventually return, since party platforms and other big decisions have to be worked-out, beyond the reach of the cameras.

Wiltse doesn’t think prominent Republicans such as Colin Powell and John Kasich in the Democratic convention lineup will have much impact in swaying voters who are on-the-fence about President Trump, since most Republicans are tuning-out the convention. The GOP convention takes place next week.

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