This week’s Democratic National Convention will make history. Joe Biden will be the first candidate from Delaware to accept the party’s presidential nomination.
At a normal convention, this would be a moment in the spotlight not just for Biden, but also for delegates from his home state, who would have a prominent position on the convention floor.
But this year’s DNC is far from normal. None of Delaware’s delegates will be attending in person. Even more not normal: Biden himself won’t be in Milwaukee in person to accept the nomination. The campaign plans for Biden’s acceptance speech to be delivered digitally from the Chase Center in Wilmington.
Despite the abnormalities, Delaware delegates are excited to take part.
“The whole event keeps reminding me that this is our own Joe Biden,” said Marie Cordivano, a delegate from Wilmington. “That makes it more meaningful, more historic for us.”
Cordivano attended the 2012 convention in Charlotte and the 2016 DNC in Philly, but this will be her first time serving as a delegate. “You hear people say, ‘Oh, it’s a shame you can’t be there,’ and … would I like to be in Wisconsin right now? Sure. However, I don’t want to get on a plane right now,” she said.
Fellow delegate Reginald Daniel, from Magnolia in central Delaware, said not being able to go to Milwaukee for the convention was disappointing, but given the circumstances, it’s the right thing to do. “I realize that it’s much more important that people’s safety is the number one priority,” he said.
He’s happy to have Delaware provide the stage for Biden’s nomination. “We should have the nation as a whole look to Delaware, look to Biden, look to the First State to be the tip of the spear and represent what it means to be American.”
Daniel, 21, said he got involved in the Biden campaign to show other young people the importance of participating in the process.
“There was just no hesitation, I just jumped on it,” Daniel said. “I’ve seen a lot of people become disillusioned. So I would like him to kind of make a greater effort to make those people under 25 excited and get them to know that their votes and their voices do have power.”
With so much of the event dependent on technology, there’s always the chance of technical difficulties. Cordivano said that happened during a pre-convention event, a pep rally of sorts held by the public outreach section of the convention committee.
“Those things might happen, and I think everyone accepts the fact that technology is subject to error, or there are potential issues that come with that,” she said.
Whether in person or on a screen, she said the delegates are focused on the mission of this week’s events. “The goal is to keep the eye on the target, and the target is a Biden and Harris presidency. There is no alternative for me. I can’t even imagine if that were not the outcome where we’ll be.”
Though the focus is on Biden, he won’t be the only Delawarean to address the convention. U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Delaware’s only member of the U.S. House, will speak on Tuesday night. U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware will speak before Biden on Thursday night.
To help make this virtual convention feel more like the real thing, the party has posted lots of digital tools online, including downloadable campaign signs delegates are usually seen waving on the convention floor. One of those signs is a pair of Biden’s signature aviator sunglasses with the words “#TeamJoe” underneath.
There are also confetti backgrounds users can install behind them when using Zoom video conferencing to virtually to attend the convention.
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