Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, Republicans are committed to keeping with the American tradition of a national convention. Every four years, delegates, media, and party members go to a chosen destination to reinforce party unity, remember the party principles, and lay out the plans for the future. And most importantly, delegates choose the party’s presidential candidate, making it official. It’s an important part of the election process, and important to reinvigorate the campaign for the final months leading to the November election.
While the convention was originally supposed to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, it has been moved to Jacksonville, Florida. And although critics are pointing a finger at Trump for choosing to have an in-person convention (the Democrats plan to hold there’s virtually), the GOP has been clear they will put the necessary safety precautions in place for those who attend.
In a call with reporters, Vice President Mike Pence said, “There’s consideration being given to having the convention in an outdoor setting and also putting the kind of measures in place that put the health of all of those participating, our delegates, visitors and anyone else that’s present — we’ll put the health of everyone participating first.”
As Coronavirus numbers rise in Florida, Pence said the GOP is working very closely with officials in Jacksonville to respond effectively to the concerns a convention will increase cases in the state, and that it is a “work in progress.”
Why this matters: The convention was moved from North Carolina to Florida because Governor Cooper mandated those who attended the convention had to maintain social distancing and wear masks, among other precautions. The decision was made while Florida was relatively open compared to other states. Now, with the numbers increasing in the state, it is unclear if the original event will be able to go on as scheduled. Jacksonville, for example, has now issued a requirement for face masks indoors and in public spaces. It is very important for the Republicans to have their convention, and is an example of just how upside down the world is due to the Coronavirus.