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24 Jul, 2016 11:42

Democratic National Convention: What to expect (and what to watch out for)

Democratic National Convention: What to expect (and what to watch out for)

All eyes will be on the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday as more than 4,000 delegates descend on the Wells Fargo Center to announce the Democratic presidential nominee.

The convention, which takes place July 25-28, is the final decider of who will face Republican nominee Donald Trump in November, and finalizes the party’s platform for the presidential election.

After four days of meetings, speeches, voting and entertainment, the presidential nominee along with their running mate for vice president will be announced.

Convention events

The convention consists of a mix of events, speeches and discussions aimed at highlighting the party’s message in the media and to advertise the candidate along with other rising party stars. President Barack Obama gave a rousing keynote speech at the 2004 convention that paved the way for his presidency.

Each morning, state delegations will hold sessions with speeches offsite. Caucus and council meetings will then be held at the Convention Center. Some of the caucuses include Black, LGBTQI, Hispanic and Women, and councils include Disability, Native American and Veterans.

In the evenings, there will be speeches, entertainment and the main event officially confirming the presidential candidate. On the final night, the Democratic presidential nominee gives their acceptance speech.


Over the four days of the convention, speakers will include President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Clinton’s former rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders. Clinton’s vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine, will also speak.

Each day of the convention will have a different theme, with speakers giving speeches related to that day’s topic.

Monday’s theme is ‘United together: Putting families first’ and will feature Michelle Obama and Sanders.

On Tuesday, the focus is on ‘Fighting for children and families’ with Bill Clinton and the mothers of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, two victims of fatal police shootings of unarmed black men.

Wednesday’s theme is ‘Working together’, and Obama and Biden will talk.

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea will discuss the theme ‘Stronger together’.

Other speakers include two survivors of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting of June 2015 and a child of undocumented workers.

The Democratic nominee

While Hillary Clinton is the presumed nominee, the superdelegates that have been counted towards her total will finally vote at the convention, meaning their pledged allegiances will be finalized.

Meanwhile, the pledged delegates are allocated to each candidate based on primary results, with some states awarding delegates proportionately and others on a winner-takes-all basis.

READ MORE: Democratic superdelegates face uncertain future - but won’t be eliminated

The superdelegates consist of a mix of elected officials, the vice president, members of the DNC and former politicians such as ex-presidents – including Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill – and senators.

The NY Daily News reports this year the superdelegates consist of “20 distinguished party leaders, 21 governors, 46 senators, 193 House members and 437 DNC members who are Democratic superdelegates.”

Recent conventions have been largely a formality with the nominee already decided beforehand. However, although Clinton has already been announced the presumptive Democratic nominee for this election, Sanders’ 1,800 expected delegates may cause some drama at the convention – particularly in light of the WikiLeaks DNC email dump which shows the DNC favored Clinton during the primaries and worked against Sanders. These accusations had already been levied by Sanders supporters at the DNC throughout the primary campaign.

With Sanders penned to give a speech at the event, all eyes will be on the Vermont senator in case he addresses the controversy.


A large, and less official, part of the convention concerns the protests surrounding it. There are designated zones within the city where demonstrators need a permit to protest.

Philadelphia estimates as many as 35,000 to 50,000 demonstrators could gather each day.

USA Today reports pro-Sanders supporters have been granted nine out of 28 permits allocated to demonstrators. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is also expected to have a presence.

Food and Water Watch, Global Zero, and Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC are among the groups that will demonstrate.

While some groups were not granted permits, the city has said there will not be a crackdown on protesters.