No balloons, no crowds, no parties: Looking ahead to a DNC and RNC conventions unlike any other

Over the next two weeks, Democrats and Republicans will officially nominate their candidates for president and vice president of the United States.

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered how delegates will gather for their national conventions, but both parties hope to capture the attention of Americans.  

No balloons, no crowds, no parties: expect a very different look from this year's DNC.

Delegates will trade in fanfare in Milwaukee for Zoom calls in their home states. 

The DNC is going nearly completely virtual. 

“It’s going to be different because we’re physically not together, but I think we’re going to be even more engaged," said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), she is also one of the co-chairs leading the California delegation.  "We have live stream sessions, much of the convention will be on television.”

Lee has attended all but one DNC since 1972.  She says instead of the normal breakfast meetings, the California delegation will have virtual coffee every morning, as they outline the party's vision for the country. “We were able to incorporate much of the consensus provisions for the platform, which quite frankly is the most progressive platform I’ve ever seen," said Congresswoman Lee. 

But, co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Cupertino) has said he will vote "no" on the party's platform, because it does not include Medicare-for-All, more than 700 progressive delegates are expected to follow suit. 

A long list of high profile Democrats including former President Barack Obama and independent Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver speeches during a televised event each night. 

Until Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris will formally accept their nominations from Deleware. 

“So she’ll have to introduce herself and Joe Biden really has to introduce himself too," said Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle senior political writer and host of the "It's All Political" podcast.  "He’s kind of always been the Robin to Obama’s Batman. He has to introduce himself as his own person.”

In a word, Garofoli says this year's conventions will be "weird."

He says both Democrats and Republicans will try to energize supporters in a very, non-traditional setting. 

“Convention bounce is based off the energy of the people absorb through media, through television, through stories about it, it’s going to be a very weird year again," said Garofoli. 

Republicans are also scaling back their convention the following week.

A few hundred delegates will still travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to formally renominate President Trump, including RNC National Committeewoman from California, Harmeet Dhillon. “It’s a little sad we aren’t going to be able to have a big hoopla and all the excitement and pageantry that we get in conventions," said Dhillon. 

The party has yet to release details on the rest of the convention. 

President Trump said he would probably deliver his acceptance speech from the White House, though that could still change. 

Despite the lack of the rally setting the president prefers, Dhillon says there'll be no shortage of enthusiasm. 

“You have to remember, who are these people, at least half of them are members of the RNC," said Dhillon.  "The RNC endorsed the president a long time ago, and we’re really united. We’re energized.”

Despite an unorthodox few weeks ahead, both parties do agree, the conventions mark a crucial point in the countdown to the election. “I think the people are looking for the leader coming out of this election to really show the path forward for America," said Dhillon. 

Democrats feel the same way, just for the other team. 

“Voters are smart enough to know what’s at stake in this election, this election is a matter of life and death," said Rep. Lee.