2020 National Conventions

What Significance do the RNC and DNC have on voters?

Key Actors:
  • Donald Trump; President of the United States, 2020 Republican Presidential Nominee 
  • Mike Pence; Vice President of the United States, 2020 Republican Nominee for Vice President
  • Joe Biden; 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee
  • Kamala Harris; 2020 Democratic Nominee for Vice President
The Stances of 2020’s Presidential Nominees and their parties 

Representing the Democratic Party, Joe Biden’s platform focused on several issues aligning with the views of his fellow Democrats—including the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden’s policy positions tend to be progressive in his attempts to appeal to the younger democrats. The proposed plans for his presidency include reforming both healthcare and housing for Americans, modernising the immigration system and promoting an easier pathway to obtaining citizenship (including reversing many of the Trump administration’s detention policies), putting in place a plan for the United States to become an emission-free country by 2050, and the aforementioned change in combating the coronavirus. 

On the other hand, we have Donald Trump as the Republican Party representative. His platform is a stark contrast to Biden’s. Trump’s policies are much more conservative to appeal to his mostly far-right group of supporters. His proposed plans for a second term are mostly continuations of his initial promises in the 2016 election. Some key agendas of his are continuing to tighten illegal immigration with the building of the wall and funding of detention centers, lowering taxes for both corporations and individuals, and limiting access to abortions. 

What is the National Convention? 

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions are a way for both parties to rally their supporters for the upcoming election. At the convention, both parties announce their official nominee for president of the United States and set their platform. The convention brings together key politicians from its respective party to showcase their shared values and encourage voters to elect their candidate. The convention lasts for multiple days and includes speeches from various delegates and other political activists who  helped to develop the platform of the party for that election year. The lesser-known speakers and activists usually begin the day and the more well known speakers present in the evening. The convention ends with a formal acceptance speech from the official nominees for president and vice president. 

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) 

The 2020 DNC began on August 17 and went on until August 20, with four days of notable speakers and performers. The Convention was held at the Wisconsin Center, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was available virtually for viewers across America. 

On the first day of the convention, the spotlight was on showing voters that the Democratic party held a united front. Notable speakers on the first day include Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders along with former first lady Michelle Obama. The endorsement of these two powerhouses had a significant impact on Biden’s campaign earlier in the election, largely increasing his popularity with youth.

The second day of the convention was filled with activists and veterans speaking to emphasise Biden’s position of ‘not backing down’ to the Trump administration. Key speakers of the second day include former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, Former President Bill Clinton, Former President Jimmy Carter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Jill Biden.  

On the third day, the focus was shifted to the Vice Presidential nominee: Kamala Harris. The day began with speeches from Former Secretary of State and Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and then shifted focus to Harris and her platform along with her official nomination for the 2020 Democratic Vice President Candidate, before concluding with a speech from former President Obama.

On the fourth and final day of the convention, Biden was officially announced as the 2020 presidential nominee. The day began with featured speakers including his previous opponents for the nomination, including Andrew Yang, and concluded with statements from the Biden family and the acceptance speech from the Presidential nominee himself,  which then led into the DNC ‘afterparty’: a star-studded conclusion.  

The Republican National Convention (RNC) 

The 2020 Republican National Convention was held from August 24 to August 27, with the primary focus of re-nominating Donald Trump and Mike Pence for President and Vice President respectively. The convention was held at multiple venues due to the COVID-19 protocol in certain states. The primary venues included the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C. along with other remote locations being used. 

The RNC held their convention a bit differently than the DNC, beginning by formally nominating Trump and Pence as their candidates on the first day. In addition to the acceptance speeches from the two candidates, the RNC had members of the Trump family and Donald Trump himself scheduled as key speakers every day of the convention. The theme of the first night was set as a ‘Land of Heroes’ and included, as previously mentioned, the official nominations of Donald Trump and Mike Pence along with speeches from six key delegates. Other notable speakers of the first day include Donald Trump Jr., and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. 

The second day was set to be about a “Land of Promise,” with First Lady Melania Trump as a key speaker; the inclusion of members of the Trump family has been useful for keeping up the ‘all American’ image that many Republicans strongly support. 

The third day shifted all focus onto Pence, the 2020 Vice President nominee of the Republican party. With the theme being a “Land of Opportunity,” Pence both accepted his nomination and began to rally Republican voters in preparation for the final and most notable night of the convention. Following the theme, Pence was able to talk about his policies and vision for America that he and Trump hope to achieve and push their hopes of four more years. 

On the final day of the RNC, President Trump gave his acceptance speech from the White House Lawn. With the idea being a “Land of Greatness” Trump took this high profile opportunity to address some of the main concerns voters had about his administration. Trump briefly commented on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic offering up certain favourable statistics and boasting the amount of testing happening in the United States in an attempt to sway voters.

Convention Bumps 

A convention bump or bounce is the term for an increased amount of support that Presidential Candidates usually receive after the televised Republican or Democratic National Conventions. The Trump administration was heavily relying on a post-convention bump to catch up to opponent Joe Biden. According to the first poll, Trump did not receive enough of a boost to catch up in the polls. 

2020 U.S. Elections 

The 2020 Presidential Election is to be held on November 3, 2020.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the elections polling will look very different this year. The method of voting will vary state by state with possible early, in-person voting. Most Americans will be eligible to vote by mail, which presents its own set of challenges, including having the current President discourage this method.


“2020 Democratic Convention: Latest News & DNC Updates.” POLITICO, https://politi.co/2Cc0fFj. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020.

Almukhtar, Sarah, and Isabella Grullón Paz. “2020 Presidential Election Calendar.” The New York Times. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/us/elections/2020-presidential-election-calendar.html. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020.

CNN, Analysis by Kevin Liptak. “Here Are 6 Takeaways from Trump’s Final Night at the RNC.” CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/27/politics/rnc-highlights-day-4/index.html. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020.

“Convention Day Three Recap.” Republican National Convention, 27 Aug. 2020, https://www.2020gopconvention.com/blog/convention-day-three-recap/.

“Democratic National Convention Schedule (August 17-20).” 2020 Democratic National Convention, https://www.demconvention.com/schedule-and-speakers/. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020.




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