Conventions: What they’ll look like and how to watch

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 6:30 AM MDT
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UPDATE: Friday, August 21: The Republican National Convention has announced where you can watch their nominating event on Monday, August 24.


WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The nomination, the speeches, the balloon drop -- they are all staples of the political conventions. But not this year.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the national parties to change plans several times.

The Democrats are holding a four-day convention in Milwaukee, Wisc., but the delegates are staying home.

“You’re going to be able to see lots of different parts of the convention across lots of different platforms,” said David Bergstein from the Democratic National Committee.

Bergstein says the party will make all the convention activities available for the public to watch online.

“We’re going to meet you online, through traditional means, and through the latest cutting edge tactics,” he said.

The Republicans are sending six delegates from each state to Charlotte, N.C. for an in-person nominating event.

“The main speeches and fun, virtual content will be on all our platforms…culminating with the president’s speech,” explained Liz Harrington from the Republican National Committee.

Harrington says they want to get voters engaged.

“I think we can reach even more people than otherwise would have been able to go in person,” she said.

Molly O’Rourke teaches political communication at American University. She says this year’s changes are “on trend.”

“The last several convention cycles, conventions have been getting more scripted, more produced in effort to get the parties to really get stay on message,” O’Rourke explained.

That means fewer spontaneous moments like Al and Tipper Gore’s kiss, Clint Eastwood talking to a chair, and Bernie Sanders supporters holding a sit-in.

If you’re looking for the primetime coverage and analysis, don’t worry, that’s still happening on broadcast television. Check your local listings.

The Democrats have announced their schedule, list of speakers, and how you can watch. Click the links below to find out more. When the Republicans make their information available, we will list it here.

Democratic National Convention

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