The next phase of the presidential election starts Monday with the launch of the Democratic National Convention. While the quadrennial event usually attracts tens of thousands of people to the host city, which this year is Milwaukee, Wis., the coronavirus has erased the possibility of a traditional series of events.
The pandemic has prompted DNC leaders to assemble a scaled-down, virtual convention. Much like the audience, prominent speakers will also tune in from their respective remote locations. That includes former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, who now will accept the nomination near his home in Delaware.
The convention will take place from Monday, August 17 through Thursday, August 20, and will broadcast from 9 pm to 11 pm ET. According to the DNC, each night of the convention will feature “both live and curated content originating from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country.”
Who’s speaking and when?
Monday: The first night of the convention will address the “series of monumental challenges” facing Americans, notably the ongoing pandemic and economic recession as well as civil unrest bringing attention to racism and inequality in the country.
Speakers include: Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Tuesday: The presidential roll call vote will take place Tuesday night. Unlike past conventions, this year each state and territory will deliver their votes remotely from different locations around the country, instead of together in a packed arena. Tuesday night will also feature the convention keynote address though the speaker has not been publicly announced.
Speakers include: Former Second Lady Jill Biden, Former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Wednesday: The convention will nominate California Sen. Kamala Harris for vice president on the third night.
Speakers include: Former President Barack Obama, Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Thursday: Thursday night’s events and speeches will focus on Biden, culminating in the former vice president accepting the presidential nomination.
Speakers include: Former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Governor Gavin Newsom.
What else will happen at the convention?
While delegates won’t be physically present in Milwaukee, party business will occur remotely during the daytime, with caucus and council meetings scheduled throughout. Democrats will also finalize the party’s platform, which was updated at the end of July and heavily influenced by the joint policy task forces spearheaded by the Biden and Sanders campaigns.
The convention also serves as an opportunity to update party rules, but the DNC has yet to release comprehensive information on any major changes. In late July, the Rules Committee released a resolution calling for the need to keep building on regulations put in place after 2016 concerning the minimized power of super delegates and a transition from caucuses to primaries.
How do I watch and listen to the convention?
Listen to NPR each night of the convention for special coverage and check out NPR.org for live analysis and fact-checking. Also be sure to subscribe to The NPR Politics Podcast for a post-convention recap.