The Democratic National Convention is here. Here's how to watch and what you can expect
WASHINGTON – It will be like no national convention before.
The Democratic National Convention begins Monday, about a month after the original scheduled date. The convention date and format have been tweaked over several months as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the nation.
Unlike previous years where thousands of Democrats descended on a city, the four-day convention – originally set to take place in Milwaukee – will be conducted by video from satellite locations across the country.
Viral, candid moments that dominated new coverage in previous years might be few and far between without the traditional in-person pomp and circumstance of a convention. You might also miss the more humanizing moments, like Hillary Clinton’s reaction after her speech in 2016, accepting her nomination as the first woman to headline a major party's ticket. Or when Sarah Palin brought her family on stage after her rousing speech and introduction to voters at the Republican National Convention in 2008.
Despite that, the Democratic Party has lined up a star-studded list of speakers, including former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They’ve also recruited top musicians, like John Legend, Common, Billie Eilish and Billy Porter to perform.
While the week will certainly be different than any other convention before, the Democratic National Committee is hoping to still make some buzz. Here’s how to watch the festivities and other things you can to expect this week at the convention:
How to watch this week
DNC speeches will be broadcast from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday.
The event will be broadcast on all major television networks. Viewers also can tune in using Amazon Prime and Amazon Fire devices, including listening via Alexa, as well as watching on Apple TV and Roku TV.
Obama to make the pitch for his former vice president
President Obama helped energize millions of Americans, many of whom were younger voters, during both his presidential runs.
Now, in his speech at the DNC Wednesday, Obama will work to help energize those same voters to not just vote for Biden, but to organize and do everything they can to get him elected.
During the primary season, Obama remained on the sidelines as to not be seen as picking favorites. When Biden became the presumptive nominee, Obama endorsed his former vice president's campaign.
Since then, Obama has held a fundraisers for Biden, and the two joined forces for a campaign video in which they discussed the current national reckoning around systemic racism. But this will be the first primetime speech Obama has made in support of his former running mate.
'Starve the Postal Service':Obama criticizes Trump for sweeping changes at the USPS
In his April endorsement video, Obama possibly previewed his message for the DNC, saying a Biden administration would go further on things like health care and climate change.
“There’s too much unfinished business for us to just look backwards, we have to look to the future," Obama said.
Kamala Harris’ first real introduction as the vice presidential choice
Voters know Kamala Harris as a senator and most recently as a former presidential candidate. But Wednesday, Harris will get to reintroduce herself as Biden’s potential second-in-command.
Harris, the first Black woman and Asian American person to be on a major party's ticket for vice president, will detail to Americans why she was the best choice for Biden's running mate and why their ticket is the best choice for America. She was named to the ticket last week and made a short speech one day later.
She might also use her time to delve into what her role in a potential Biden administration might look like. The vice president often has specific policy initiatives that they focus on, like Biden's effort to help find a cure for cancer when he was vice president.
During an interview with The 19th* last week, Harris said “in a Biden-Harris administration, women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities."
She noted that policies like paid family leave and affordable child care will be a priority. Expect more of that conversation in Wednesday's speech.
All wings of the party look to put forth a united front against Trump
Progressives and establishment Democrats are going to show up as a united front this week, a marked contrast to the 2016 convention when some Sanders supporters were vocal about their disappointment in the party and Clinton's nomination.
But since 2016, the progressive movement has been brought into the mainstream and has been the vehicle for several political upsets, including Ocasio-Cortez's congressional win and most recently Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush knocking out long-time Democratic congresspeople.
And 2020 isn't 2016.
After Sanders became the last Democratic candidate to exit the primary, Biden worked with the Vermont senator and progressive icon to create unity task forces that drafted proposals for the Democratic Party platform.
Democrats are aware that they will need all sects of the party to win in November. But many believe they can peel off some Republicans who are dissatisfied with President Donald Trump.
One speaker who is trying to appeal to disenfranchised Republicans voters is former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who will be speaking Monday.
Showing voters Biden isn't just the anti-Trump
Since the inception of his campaign, Biden has portrayed himself as the polar opposite of Trump.
While Trump has advocated to "make America great again," Biden has said that this moment is a "battle for the soul of the nation."
Biden, however, will now officially be the Democratic nominee. He is going to need to do more than just show he is the anti-Trump.
Instead, Biden likely will use his speech Thursday night to detail in some ways the policies he would put in place as president. Politicos and talking heads alike have said Biden is going to need to show what Americans are voting for, rather than what they're voting against. He might also highlight the ways he's been willing to listen to voters and compromise when needed.
During remarks Wednesday when introducing Harris as his running mate, Biden noted that she will be someone who will "ask the hard questions" and challenge him if need be.
“I asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room, to always tell me the truth, which she will, to challenge my assumptions if she disagrees, to ask the hard questions,” Biden said. “That’s the way we make the best decisions for the American people.”