Your Guide to the 2020 DNC in Milwaukee, WI

While we’ve already heard a lot about the 2020 presidential race, the general election season has not even begun yet! The official start of the general election is after the main party nominees have been chosen at their respective national conventions. President Trump is likely to gain the Republican nomination, but the Democratic nominee won’t be determined until the Democratic National Convention. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about DNC 2020. 

What Is the Democratic National Convention?

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) is a political gathering for delegates of the Democratic Party from around the nation. During the convention, delegates vote to nominate and confirm the presidential and vice-presidential candidates that will represent the party in the upcoming election. They also establish the goals and proposals of the party’s political platform.

While it’s still too early to say who will secure the nomination, typically, the front-runner becomes evident by the time the convention rolls around. The nominee usually presents themself during the primary election season, making the convention voting a quick process. But, there is still plenty to do at the four-day event.

During the day, activists hold rallies and meetings to work on the party platform. The platform is made up of public policy proposals and goals that are called planks. These are generally broad ideas, but some sections may be more specific to appeal to certain party interest groups.

There are also speeches and talks held by members of the party. Lesser-known party members address convention attendees during the day. At night, delegates vote, and notable figures and party members give speeches. On the last day of the convention, the official nominees for president and vice president give their formal acceptance speeches.

Courtesy of Politico Facebook Page
Courtesy of Democratic National Convention Facebook Page

How Does The Nomination Process Work?

Every four years, delegates from around the US gather to vote for the Democratic nomination. Each state and territory is allocated several delegates based on its population, the proportion of Congressional representatives, presidential voting patterns, and the proportion of state officials who are party members. 

There are two different types of delegates: pledged delegates and automatic delegates (also known as superdelegates). Pledged delegates vote according to the state primary and caucus results. As the name suggests, they have essentially pledged to vote for the candidate that their state chose. Superdelegates are a group of party leaders, state leaders, and elected officials. They are allowed to vote for whichever candidate they choose. 

This year, there will be a total of 4,750 delegates. 3,979 of them are pledged delegates, and the other 771 are automatic delegates. To win the nomination, the presidential candidate must receive support from the majority of pledged delegates. This means that at least 1,990 pledged delegates must vote for them on the first ballot. Automatic delegates are prohibited from voting on the first ballot unless the nominee that they support already has a majority of votes. 

If every candidate fails to secure a majority of votes, it becomes a brokered convention. The vote goes to a second ballot where pledged and automatic delegates can vote for their candidate of choice. The candidate must still receive majority support from all the delegates and, this time, get more than 2,375 votes. This, however, is a relatively rare occurrence; neither the DNC nor the RNC has needed a second ballot since 1952. 

Who Can Go to the DNC?

It’s not just politicians and delegates who get to go to the DNC; the event is open to all sorts of people. Though the delegates have the most important role to play in the nomination process, they are greatly outnumbered by the other attendees. Other event-goers include party officials, activists, journalists, and other members of the news media, invited guests, volunteers, international observers, and local business promoters.