That will be at the end of the night. First, he will be introduced by a variety of speakers, including three women he considered for vice president, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). The presidential run this year of Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) wasn’t a long one, and he and Biden sometimes clashed in debates, but he will have a prominent speaking role, a reflection of both how the Democratic Party is embracing Booker’s primary cause for criminal justice reform and acknowledging Booker’s talent in the party.
Also speaking are 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Mike Bloomberg and Andrew Yang, will also speak. So will Biden’s children, Hunter and Ashley Biden, and Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), his close friend. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) of California was scheduled to speak but canceled as he deals with wildfires ravaging the state.
At times it has felt more like the Zoom meetings many Americans spend their days in rather than a party for its most faithful. But it has also kept politicians’ speeches (like Bill Clinton’s) short, avoiding gaffes. There were even captivating moments, such as when delegates from across the nation cast their votes for Biden to be the nominee. The Rhode Island delegate had a plate of the state’s national appetizer, calamari, next to him.
So far, the Democrats’ campaign strategy of doing no harm has been working for them in the polls, and this convention plays right into that.
Want to know what to expect from the rest of the convention? Keep reading.
When is the Democratic National Convention?
The convention started on Monday and will end on Thursday. Programming is scheduled for 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern time. The event was originally scheduled for July but was pushed back because of the pandemic.
The Washington Post will carry the convention live; coverage starts at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Where is it?
It was planned for Milwaukee, and although some of the party’s business has taken place there, in-person events have been severely curtailed. It has been mostly virtual, with even Joe Biden set to appear on-screen instead of in person. He, like running mate Kamala D. Harris of California, will give his speech from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., a waterfront event center with several ballrooms and an auditorium. The behind-the-scenes crew of about 400 has operation centers in New York, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Wilmington. Live broadcasts have been carried at a portion of the roughly 300 drive-in movie theaters still left in the country.
Who will speak?
The convention speakers are usually a mix of party luminaries, rising stars and non-politicians whose stories illuminate something the party wants to highlight. Speakers have been mailed video-production kits, with basic equipment such as microphones, lighting and advanced routers, so they can produce and transmit their own shots.
On Monday, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders spoke, as well as a few former Republican officeholders who now oppose Trump. On Tuesday, the speakers included Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill Clinton, Sally Yates, Charles E. Schumer, John F. Kerry and Stacey Abrams. On Wednesday, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) accepted her party’s nomination, while former president Barack Obama and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
- Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois senator and veteran.
- Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Atlanta mayor.
- Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator and former presidential candidate.
- Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general.
- The secretary of state of California, Alex Padilla, and of Michigan, Jocelyn Benson.
- Deb Halaand, a member of Congress from New Mexico.
- Cedric Richmond Jr., son of Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).
- Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
- Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind. and former Democratic presidential candidate.
- Andrew Yang, businessman and former Democratic presidential candidate.
- Tammy Baldwin, the senator from Wisconsin.
- Christopher A. Coons, the senator from Delaware and a Biden confidant.
- Joe Biden and his family.
- Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, author John Meacham and performers John Legend Common and The Chicks
- There will also be video tributes to Beau Biden, Biden’s son who died in 2015 of brain cancer, and John Lewis, a former congressman and civil rights icon from Georgia who died this summer
Why was it going to be in Milwaukee?
Parties like to hold their conventions in swing states. The Democrats picked Milwaukee in March 2019, planning to hold days of events in the Fiserv Forum and nearby. Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin in 2016, but Democrats won all statewide races there in 2018, and it’s a key target for both parties in 2020.
What actually happens at a convention?
Usually there are meetings and gatherings and lobbying and partying. But the main business is nominating the party’s candidate. Usually, thousands of delegates gather in an arena. The delegation from each state is called upon, someone from the state extols its greatness and then announces how many of its delegates it’s pledging for each candidate. This year, that roll call happened Tuesday, virtually, in about 30 minutes.
What about the Republican convention?
It was going to be in Charlotte, in a state President Trump won four years earlier. When Republicans were worried coronavirus-related restrictions would keep them from having large in-person events, they said they were moving to a city in another swing state, Jacksonville, Fla., but later canceled events there as well when coronavirus cases rose. Now, Trump says he will probably deliver his acceptance speech from the White House. The actual nomination will happen in Charlotte on Monday, with events scheduled for the following three days and ending in the Trump speech next Thursday.