What happened at this year’s Democratic and Republican National Conventions?

During every presidential race, the Democrat and Republican parties each hold conventions to select their party’s nominee for President of the United States. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) and Republican National Convention (RNC) this year were postponed from June and July to August and were held virtually. Usually, minor parties, such as the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party also hold conventions, but they had to cancel and have them online as well. Most RNC speeches were at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C., but some were in other locations including the White House and Fort McHenry. Most DNC speeches were videos submitted by the speakers, but a few were at the DNC home base in Wisconsin. 

The first two nights of the DNC focused on the party’s goals of beating President Trump in November, addressing police brutality and racism and ending coronavirus. Speakers held a moment of silence for George Floyd, whose death sparked civil rights protests at the end of May. Former First Lady Michelle Obama ended the night. During night two, a series of videos from different individuals showed them casting their ballot for Biden. Some Republican officials, such as Former Governor John Kasich and Former Secretary of State Colin Powel, showed their support for Biden in these first couple days. They disagree with President Trump’s policies and belive in Biden’s character.  

Senator Kamala Harris accepted the vice presidential nomination at the end night three of the DNC and urged voters to support Biden. Speakers continued to discuss the Democratic Party’s agenda for 2020: COVID-19 treatment and recovery, economic reform, universal healthcare, criminal justice reform, civil rights, education reform and more. Other topics such as gun control and climate change were also addressed. Night four was the final night of the DNC and was the night Joe Biden accepted the party’s presidential nomination. 

“Here and now I give you my word. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” said Biden in his acceptance address. 

Nights one and two of the RNC focused on the accomplishments of President Trump, such as his economic policy and foreign policy. Speakers focused on the effects of cancel culture and biased media. First Lady Melania Trump spoke about the protests regarding racism and police brutality and discussed the effects of COVID-19. She condemned looting as a form of seeking justice. Additionally, multiple speakers criticized Biden’s past record, such as his criminal justice record, as well as his agenda if he were to be elected President. During night one, delegates in Charlotte voted to make President Trump the official Republican presidential nominee. 

Vice President Pence formally accepted the Republican nomination for vice president during night three. He praised President Trump for his leadership and accomplishments and warned that voting for Biden would lead to socialism. Many speeches, like Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s, focused on Trump’s character and highlighted how he has served others. Night four, speakers continued to criticize Biden’s track record and condemned the violent protesting happening in many cities across the United States. They also praised President Trump’s criminal justice reform and how he has helped communities of color. President Trump accepted the Republican nomination at the end of the night. He presented his agenda for 2020, which includes more tax cuts, pushing for school choice, expanding opportunity zones, bringing business to America, preventing U.S. involvement in foreign wars, future Moon and Mars landings and more. 

“We will reach stunning new heights. And we will show the world that, for America, no dream is beyond our reach. Together, we are unstoppable. Together, we are unbeatable. Because together, we are the proud CITIZENS of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. And on November 3rd, we will make America safer, we will make America stronger, we will make America prouder, and we will make America GREATER than ever before!” said President Trump during his acceptance speech. 

In summation, both the DNC and RNC explained why their candidates are the best and how the country will move in the wrong direction if the other candidate were to be elected. Prominent speakers from both sides provided their insight into why citizens should vote for their specific candidate. For example, the Obama family, Clinton family and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed their support for Vice President Biden. Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican Senator, Richard Grenell, Acting Director of the United States National Intelligence and Clarence Henderson, who participated in the Greensboro sit-ins in the 1960s, showed their support for President Trump. A whole list of speakers from both conventions can be found online. 

The first presidential debate between Trump and Biden will be Tuesday, September 29 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The second debate is Thursday, October 15 at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. The third and final debate is Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University. All presidential debates are at 9 p.m. ET (6:00 PT) without commercials. The vice presidential debate between Pence and Harris will be Wednesday, October 7 at the University of Utah at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 PT, also without commercial breaks. Chris Wallace, Steve Scully and Kristen Walker will moderate the presidential debates, and Susan Page will moderate the vice presidential debate.