Conventions 2020, the perfect antidote to sleeplessness. ^p

For Wisconsin, the coronavirus pandemic delivered another smack to the head last week when the scheduled Democratic National Convention went almost all virtual rather than the big in-person event originally planned for Milwaukee.

In dollars and cents, the blow was enormous because hotels and restaurants and shops and cab drivers and, well, everybody missed a huge payday.

In public relations terms—or, as the tourism industry puts it, earned media—Milwaukee and Wisconsin missed the opportunity to show the Heartland is more than fly-over country.

As for the convention itself here’s our take—zzzzzzzzzzzz.

That’s not intended to pick on Democrats. Expect more of the same this week from the Republican National Convention. And not just because these quadrennial activities have gone digital during the pandemic.

There was a time when national party conventions were interesting, even dramatic events. Various factions within the parties would duke it out to create a consensus platform. Often, there was still some suspense over the actual delegate count for a nominee, even when the pick was fairly obvious. State power brokers might hold out extending full support until a nominee gave a little ground on a pet platform point. Suspense also could come over a vice presidential pick, which could become part of the wheeling and dealing. Old-timers will remember the days when the major networks covered conventions gavel-to-gavel, all the better to capture the catfights among delegates on the floor.

Now, it’s all showbiz, engineered for whatever screen you happen to be watching. Or, increasingly, not watching because it’s all so predictable and boring.

Doing it digitally just accentuates the obvious. Scripted moments are dull. Every cued-up speaker says roughly the same thing.

The parties have managed to take something stark and stirring and spontaneous—the big differences between President Trump and Joe Biden—and flatten it like roadkill. Modern politics. Hurry up, November, let’s get on with this.