The Unconventional Convention Season: A Conversation About the 2020 Election

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This was supposed to be a big week in Milwaukee.

In a pre-pandemic political universe, Democrats planned to hold their convention from July 13 to 16. The city beat out Miami and Houston to host the festivities. Organizers were expecting 50,000 visitors. State lawmakers pushed for bars to stay open until 4 a.m. Nearly every hotel room was spoken for.

By early April, though, the Democratic National Committee had postponed the convention until mid-August. In late June, the event was scaled back: It moved from a 17,000-person basketball arena to a smaller venue, and state delegations were encouraged to stay home.

The Republican National Committee moved its main August convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., seeking a venue where social distancing measures wouldn’t mar a celebratory mood. But now, Jacksonville will also require masks and some Republicans say they won’t be making the trip.

It’s a convention season like none other, in a campaign that has been upended and redefined by the coronavirus pandemic and protests over police brutality and racial injustice.

Which means there is a lot to discuss.

Join the New York Times political reporters Katie Glueck, Annie Karni, Lisa Lerer and Jennifer Medina, who will be on hand Thursday at 5 p.m. Eastern to talk about everything convention-related, and the latest on this unusual political summer.

There is one question they won’t be able to field from personal experience. And that is: What is it like to give a career-defining speech in the bright lights of a convention hall, anyway?

For that answer, and thoughts on how the Democratic Party is meeting the challenge of the moment, Julián Castro, the former housing secretary, mayor of San Antonio and 2020 candidate, will be in conversation with Ms. Medina.

Read more on his 2012 convention speech here.

Get caught up with Times coverage of the 2020 candidates, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and President Trump, and follow along with the latest campaign news and updates here.

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