Ohio Delegates Excited For Virtual Democratic National Convention

Democratic National Convention delegate swag for the 2020 virtual convention.
Some of the swag sent to delegates ahead of the Democratic National Convention, which kicks off online Aug. 17. [Helen Sheehan]

The Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday – online. 

Cindy Demsey, chairwoman of the Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus and a delegate for Joe Biden, told ideastream she’s disappointed she won’t be traveling to Milwaukee for the convention but having it online was the right move.  

“We all accept the decision, which is the right decision to have the convention virtual. So we will join together on Zoom and our enthusiasm for this ticket has not been diminished in the least,” she told ideastream. “We are very, very excited.”

Demsey, who was a delegate for Hilary Clinton four years ago, said she’ll miss the camaraderie among the Ohio delegates. 

Delegations usually have breakfast and lunch together as they listen to speakers address state-level issues. This year, Demsey said delegates will be able to keep that tradition alive virtually through a series of Zoom luncheons, which the Ohio Democratic Party will also livestream on its Facebook page.

“They’re really being innovative trying to find a way to allow us to be together as much as we can,” Demsey said. “It’s the best that we can do.” 

Demsey said she’s looking forward to hearing the presumptive presidential nominee Vice President Joe Biden speak from his home in Delaware on Thursday night. She also said she is “beyond thrilled” with his pick for vice president, Kamala Harris. Harris, a senator from California, is also scheduled to speak on Thursday. 

One person Demsey is not looking forward to hearing, however, is former Ohio governor John Kasich, who is scheduled to speak on Monday. Kasich, a Republican, ran against President Donald Trump in 2016 and has said he plans to vote for Biden this year.

“I’m glad he’s not supporting Donald Trump, I’m glad he’s supporting Biden, he does not belong on the stage,” Demsey said. 

But fellow delegate Helen Sheehan said while she won’t “forget what happened during his tenure as governor,” she is interested in hearing what Kasich has to say. 

“I know that there are Republicans that are flipping over for the Democratic ticket with Biden and Harris so I think he will offer a voice that we need to hear,” Sheehan said. 

Sheehan, a first-time-delegate, is disappointed she isn’t attending the convention in person, but she is excited to be a part of it all online. She also plans to host a watch party at her home in Shaker Heights. 

“I’m going to have one in my backyard with a few people. It won’t be quiet, but it’ll be small,” she said. 

Local Democratic groups also plan to hold socially-distanced outdoor watch parties in the area, weather permitting. 

Both women have already cast their delegate votes for Biden – also online.

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