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Day two of the Democratic National Convention 2020 has just wrapped. The parade of speakers over days one and two included Democratic heavyweights like Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders; rising stars Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andrew Cuomo and Catherine Cortez Masto; and several Republican defectors including John Kasich. The move to live-streaming made the convention more accessible to viewers around the world than ever.

In a conversation with United States Studies Centre (USSC) experts yesterday, the reactions were split. Senior Lecturer David Smith said, “I like the fact that there wasn’t crowd noise. It often, I think, gets very very tedious. It really just confirms the team sported-ness of it and you hear just mindless applause and cheering for rather banal things.” And Non-resident Fellow Kim Hoggard agreed it is, “a more intimate experience for the viewer.” Associate Professor Brendon O’Connor “missed the pageantry of the balloons and the crowd that look like and seem like they’ve been on Gatorade for about 12 hours.” 

Next week will be the Republicans' time in the sun, but details are still emerging as the pandemic pushed the party to vacillate between locations and formats. Where the Democrats made the call early to host a virtual event, the Republican National Convention is still looking for ways to foster the enthusiasm that plays to President Trump’s strengths and avoid some of the flatness of a virtual experience. The delayed conventions and isolation have condensed the campaign timeline. The USSC will be tracking developments through conventions, debates and then the big day on 3 November. Make sure to follow USSC on Twitter and visit the USSC Election Watch Hub to stay across the latest news in the race to the White House.