The 2020 Democratic National Convention: Everything to Know

From who's speaking to how to stream, we've got you covered.

Okay, so there's a lot going on right now (opens in new tab) in this country, and while the Democratic National Convention might not be on the top of your list, I'm here to argue that it should be. At the convention, a presidential and vice-presidential candidate (opens in new tab) are officially nominated, chosen, and given the opportunity to talk about their goals as president. While this year's outcome might more predictable than past years', that doesn't make it any less important.

Usually, the convention will brings in a boatload of celebrities, a lot of great pantsuits, inspiring speeches, and everything else needed to get people hype to vote in November. Things will be a little different this year, but no less important. Ahead, your guide to everything and anything concerning the 2020 Democratic National Convention. See you at the polls!

democratic national convention day four

(Image credit: Jessica Kourkounis)

When is the DNC?

The event will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It'll be virtual, starting on August 17, 2020, and run until August 20. The DNC will air for two hours each night, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET, and feature numerous speakers.

What can we expect?

So, while yes, Joe Biden will accept the Democratic nomination for president, other stuff will go down too. Each night will have a different sub-theme, according to USA TODAY (opens in new tab). Monday is "We the People," Tuesday is "Leadership Matters," Wednesday is "A More Perfect Union," and Thursday is "America's Promise."

You can view a full schedule of what's going down here (opens in new tab), per the Democratic National Convention website. We've listed below what's going on during those two hours that will be live-streamed.

Monday, August 17

It's the first day, so there will be the opening ceremony, notes on what the committee expects to accomplish in the next couple of days, and, of course, some speakers.

In light of Monday's theme, Biden's campaign says (opens in new tab) they'll focus on the three crises in our country: the pandemic, the struggling economy, and racial injustice.

Tuesday, August 18

The second day features the keynote address as well as speeches geared toward nominating the presidential candidate. A roll call vote is called for the presidential nominee, and everyone places their vote.

It's said (opens in new tab) that small business owners, front-line healthcare workers, veterans, and many other activists will tell their stories and speak on the looking for a leader out of the White House. This will play into Tuesday's theme of "Leadership Matters."

Wednesday, August 19

This day is all about the vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, and there will be speeches in her honor nominating her for the job. The night will finish up with her accepting the nomination for VP. Wednesday's theme of "A More Perfect Union" will also feature speeches of building back the economy from the recent pandemic, per USA TODAY.

Thursday, August 20

It's the last day! The theme of "America's Promise" will focus on Biden's political history in Washington and what makes him a great candidate. Biden will deliver (opens in new tab) his acceptance speech from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Then the convention is adjourned, and the focus will be on what will happen in the months until November.

michelle obama, wife of democratic presi

(Image credit: STAN HONDA)

Who's speaking and performing at the DNC?

Over four days, there will be numerous speeches from keynote figures. Most will be famous Democrats like Michelle and Barack Obama, but there will be some well-known Republican leaders such as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, too. The idea is to show unity in defeating the opposing candidate. Here's the list, per NPR (opens in new tab), of who will be speaking during the four-day event.

The DNC has also announced there will be numerous musical performances from artists such as Leon Bridges, The Chicks, Common, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Hudson (opens in new tab), John Legend, Billy Porter, Maggie Rogers (opens in new tab), and more.

According to the press release (opens in new tab), the performances will range news songs, renditions of the national anthem, and other American classics. "These artists are committed to engaging with, registering and mobilizing voters to get us over the finish line in November," said Stephanie Cutter, the 2020 Democratic National Convention Program Executive in the release. This list isn't finalized, so be prepared for a surprise or two!

Monday speakers include:

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (opens in new tab)
  • Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  • Former first lady Michelle Obama (opens in new tab)
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Tuesday speakers include:

  • Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates (opens in new tab)
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (opens in new tab)
  • Former President Bill Clinton
  • Former second lady Jill Biden (opens in new tab)

Wednesday speakers include:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (opens in new tab)
  • Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (opens in new tab)
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (opens in new tab)
  • Former President Barack Obama
  • Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris (opens in new tab)
  • Performance by Billie Eilish

Thursday speakers include:

  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris
  • Performance by The Chicks

How Can I Watch?

Due to the coronavirus, an event that was set to bring together thousands of people will only be bringing together hundreds. According to The New York Times (opens in new tab), convention planners sent an email to all Congress members and delegates informing them not to come to the convention; all the meetings will be held virtually.

So get ready to most likely watch a bunch of pre-recorded made-for-Zoom videos from these key political figures. According to the DNC's website, programming will air live from 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET each night. You'll be able to stream the event for free on its official live stream (opens in new tab). There are also many other user-friendly options to watch the history-making event, and I'll break them down below.

If you're watching from a smaller screen:

If you're watching from your TV streaming apps it'll work on:

  • Apple TV
  • Roku TV
  • Amazon Fire TV

Just make sure you're search for “Democratic National Convention” or “2020 DNC” and you'll be all set.

If you find yourself channel surfing:

  • AT&T U-verse: channel 212/1212 in SD/HD
  • DIRECTV: channel 201
  • Comcast Xfinity: say “DNC” into your Xfinity Voice Remote

If you want to be really high tech:

Watch or listen using Alexa-enabled devices. Just say “Alexa, play the Democratic National Convention," and you're good to go.

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Bianca Rodriguez
Bianca Rodriguez

Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Town & Country. She likes lounging about with a good book and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.