What to watch for at the US Democratic convention

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Joe Biden speaks at the 2016 convention

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Joe Biden will be the official Democratic nominee once he is formally chosen by party delegates

Balloons. Confetti. Signs. Big hats. It’s the moment US election enthusiasts have been waiting four years for. It’s convention season.

This week kicks off with the Democratic National Convention – four days of party events leading up to the main moment: crowning the presidential nominee.

Of course this year, things are going to look a bit different.

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s convention, Covid-19 changes and all.

What is the Democratic National Convention?

It is where the Democratic Party comes together to formally name – and hype up – their candidates.

You may be thinking, ‘isn’t Joe Biden already the nominee?’

Yes – and no. He’s certainly the presumptive Democratic candidate, but things aren’t party-official until they announce it at the convention.

Party members will also unveil the 2020 Democratic platform, the list of party values and policy priorities which they believe distinguish them from their rival Republicans.

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Media captionWhat happens at the US conventions?

OK, so where and when is the 2020 convention?

Officially, it’s being held in a convention centre in Milwaukee, in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, from Monday 17 August to Thursday 20 August.

But Covid-19 restrictions and concerns mean that the only people attending in-person will be those necessary to orchestrating the event.

Instead of 50,000 people gathering for the traditional calendar with days full of speeches, receptions and rallies, sessions will be streamed from the Democratic Party’s social media channels and aired live on most US news channels from 21:00 to 23:00 EDT each night.

How to follow the convention

You can follow the action and reaction from Monday’s speakers on our live page from 2130 BST/ 1630 EST which you will find onthe BBC News front page.

All the latest developments will also be tweeted@BBCNorthAmerica

You can also watch the conventionon the DNC website(sessions from 21:00-23:00 ET (01:00-03:00 GMT the next day) every night between 17 and 20 August).

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The old normal: A lot of people all in one place, on the final day of the 2016 Democratic convention

Will Joe Biden be there?

Mr Biden will not be in Wisconsin. The presumptive nominee will be dialling in from his home state of Delaware on Thursday night, and he will deliver his speech from the Chase Center, in Wilmington. Ms Harris will also speak at the same venue a day earlier.

Who are the speakers this year?

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are closing out Wednesday and Monday night respectively. Senator Bernie Sanders is also scheduled to address the virtual crowds on Monday night.

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Former President Bill Clinton and Jill Biden will be the final two speeches on Tuesday, after remarks from several lawmakers, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and the 2016 nominee, will take a prime time slot on Wednesday night, as will Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Biden’s vice-presidential pick Kamala Harris will also get a chance to address the nation with an acceptance speech on Wednesday.

What to watch out for

This political convention won’t look like any we’ve seen before but the stakes are as high as ever. Here’s what I’m looking out fo

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