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Democratic National Convention 2016: speakers, schedule, platform, and what to expect

Last week was about Donald Trump. Now, with the Republican National Convention over, it’s the Hillary Clinton campaign’s chance to take the national stage at the Democratic National Convention.

For four days from July 25 to 28, Democratic politicians and delegates — along with plenty of reporters — will descend on Philadelphia for the DNC to ring in Clinton’s nomination, along with that of her vice presidential pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. The biggest names in Washington, including President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vice President Joe Biden will all be in attendance and speaking, along with some celebrities, including Katy Perry and Lena Dunham.

The schedule

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

Monday’s theme: United Together

Gavel time expected at 4:00 pm Eastern

Headlining speakers: first lady Michelle Obama, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, DREAMer Astrid Silva

Tuesday’s theme: "A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families"

Gavel time expected at 4:00 pm Eastern

The roll call vote to officially nominate Hillary Clinton begins Tuesday.

Headlining speakers: former President Bill Clinton and Mothers of the Movement, including Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr, Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, Dontré Hamilton’s mother Maria Hamilton, Jordan Davis’s mother Lucia McBath, Michael Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden, Hadiya Pendleton’s mother Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, and Sandra Bland’s mother Geneva Reed-Veal

Wednesday’s theme: "Working Together"

Gavel time expected at 4:30 pm Eastern

Headlining speakers: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

Thursday’s theme: "Stronger Together"

Headlining speakers: Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Gavel time expected at 4:30 pm Eastern

Here is the full schedule.

The platform:

Many have turned to Clinton's onetime rival Bernie Sanders to play a prominent role in shaping the Democratic Party’s platform. While the platform does not bind any of its members, it does represent the future direction of the Democratic Party. In the weeks leading up to the DNC, platform drafting meetings showed a leftward shift in the party, with many wins for the Sanders camp.

There were many wins for Sanders supporters in the draft platform

$15-an-hour minimum wage: Democrats embraced pushing for a $15 minimum wage. Whether that is actually a good idea is up for debate, but nevertheless it is a big win for the Sanders campaign and the Fight for $15 movement.

Stronger language on criminal justice: The platform calls on the Department of Justice "to investigate all questionable or suspicious police-involved shootings," which is substantially stronger language than the 2012 platform.

Marijuana legalization: The platform also calls for a "reasoned pathway to future legalization" of marijuana, which Clinton’s campaign has largely resisted.

Carbon pricing: The drafted platform calls for carbon pricing, which would tax carbon to recognize its impact on the environment.

Federal reserve reform and closing the revolving door: The platform says the party will fight against permitting bank executives to sit on Federal Reserve boards. The platform also called for the party to move toward banning "golden parachutes for those taking government jobs" and to seek to bar bank regulators from taking any action related to their former employers.

Wall Street reform: The platform says the party will work to crack down on Wall Street by stopping banks from choosing the credit agencies that rate their products.

Tax loopholes for estates and hedge funds: The draft also has strong, Sanders-like language on the need to "immediately close egregious loopholes like those enjoyed by hedge fund managers, restore fair taxation on multimillion dollar estates, and ensure millionaires can no longer pay a lower rate than their secretaries."

Death penalty: The platform also has new language calling for an end to the death penalty.

Where Sanders lost

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal: While recognizing that some Democrats, such as Sanders, disagree with the Obama administration–brokered TPP deal, the platform’s language does not oppose the trade deal.

As Vox’s Jeff Stein explained, this loss for the Sanders camp makes sense, as "it’d be awkward for the Democratic Party to oppose a deal brokered and supported by President Obama — but it’s also odd given that Hillary Clinton herself also opposes the trade proposal, at least as a matter of record."

Israeli settlements: The platform does not include any language critical of Israel’s settlements, despite efforts from the Sanders allies who were looking to add language "aimed at criticizing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, demanding ‘an end to illegal settlements’ and supporting the re-building of the Gaza Strip."

Fracking: The platform does not call for an end to hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as "fracking"; however, it does say that the decisions of municipalities where the local government objects to the practice should be respected.

Here is the full drafted platform. The party is expected to ratify it at the convention.


Unlike the Republican convention, which was notably light on prominent Republican politicians and heavy on C- and D-list celebrities, the DNC speakers list is full of prominent politicians, social activists, and celebrities. One name not on the list however, is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair who is set to resign following the convention.

Below is a tentative list of speakers:

White House:

  • President Barack Obama
  • First lady Michelle Obama
  • Vice President Joe Biden

Congressional leadership:

  • Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV)
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA)

Members of Congress

  • Sen. Tim Kaine (VA), Hillary Clinton’s VP pick
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)
  • Sen. Cory Booker (NJ)
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA)
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH)
  • Sen. Bob Casey (PA)
  • Sen. Al Franken (MN)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (CT)
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY)
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD)
  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY)
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ)
  • Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH)
  • Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA)
  • Rep. Brendan Boyle (PA)
  • Rep. Bob Brady (PA)
  • Rep. Joaquín Castro (TX)
  • Rep. Keith Ellison (MN)
  • Rep. Joe Kennedy (MA)
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA)
  • Rep. James Clyburn (SC)
  • Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY)
  • Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM)
  • Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC)
  • Rep. Judy Chu (CA)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (CA)
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego (Arizona)
  • Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM)
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL)
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (CA)
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)
  • Rep. Ted Lieu (CA)
  • Rep. Nita Lowey (NY)
  • Rep. Gwen Moore (WI)
  • Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Washington, DC)


  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Chillicothe, Ohio, Mayor Luke Feeney
  • Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
  • Flint, Michigan, Mayor Karen Weaver
  • Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Steve Benjamin
  • Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
  • Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
  • Tallahassee, Florida, Mayor Andrew Gillum
  • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney


  • Gov. Tom Wolf (PA)
  • Gov. Jerry Brown (CA)
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY)
  • Gov. Mark Dayton (MN)
  • Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO)
  • Gov. Terry McAuliffe (VA)
  • Gov. Dannel Malloy (CT)
  • Former Gov. Howard Dean (VT)
  • Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (MI)
  • Former Gov. Martin O’Malley (MD)

Democratic politicians, Democratic Party members, former officials

  • Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (AZ)
  • Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (CA)
  • State Sen. Pat Spearman (NV)
  • State Rep. Raumesh Akbari (TN)
  • State Rep. Peggy Flanagan (MN)
  • Majority Leader State Rep. Crisanta Duran (CO)
  • Former State Rep. Bakari Sellers (SC)
  • State party chair Jaime Harrison (SC)
  • Former Sen. Tom Harkin (IA)
  • State Sen. Ruben Kihuen (NV)
  • Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (KY)
  • Former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
  • Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey
  • Former state Sen. Jason Carter (GA)
  • State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (IA)
  • DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile

Activists, interest groups, motivational speakers

  • Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader
  • DREAMer Astrid Silva
  • Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president
  • Lee Saunders
, AFSCME president
  • Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president
  • Randi Weingarten, 
American Federation of Teachers president
  • Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr
  • Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton
  • Dontré Hamilton’s mother, Maria Hamilton
  • Jordan Davis’s mother, Lucia McBath
  • Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden
  • Hadiya Pendleton’s mother, Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley
  • Sandra Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal
  • Anastasia Somoza, intellectual and developmental disabilities advocate
  • Karla & Francisca Ortiz, undocumented immigrants
  • Kate Burdick, staff attorney at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia
  • Anton Moore, founder of a nonprofit focused on educating youth on gun violence
  • Dustin Parsons, Arkansas elementary school teacher
  • Joe Sweeney, New York police detective during the 9/11 attacks
  • Lauren Manning, 9/11 survivor
  • Ryan Moore, health care reform advocate
  • Erica Smegielski, daughter of principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, who died in the shooting
  • Felicia Sanders & Polly Sheppard, Charleston church shooting survivors
  • Jamie Dorff, wife of helicopter pilot who died in northern Iraq
  • Beth Mathias, Ohio supporter
  • Khizr Khan, father of an American Muslim who died serving in the US Army
  • Lily Eskelsen García, National Education Association president
  • Mary Kay Henry, SEIU president
  • Sean McGarvey, Building Trades president
  • Ilyse Hogue, NARAL president
  • Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign
  • Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters president
  • Sarah McBride, LGBTQ rights activist
  • Stephanie Schriock, EMILY's List president
  • Neera Tanden, Center for American Progress Action Fund president

Celebrities, athletes, entertainers

  • Katy Perry, musician
  • Demi Lovato, musician
  • Lena Dunham, writer, actor, director
  • Chloe Grace Moretz, actor
  • Eva Longoria, actor
  • America Ferrera, actor
  • Debra Messing, actor
  • Captain Mark Kelly, astronaut
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball player
  • Jason Collins, basketball player
  • Tony Goldwyn, actor


  • Gen. John Allen (ret. USMC)
  • Rear Adm. John Hutson (Ret. USN)

Clinton’s family, former colleagues

  • Former President Bill Clinton
  • Chelsea Clinton, daughter
  • Jelani Freeman, former Hillary Clinton Senate office intern

What to expect:

No one was surprised when Hillary Clinton announced her bid for the White House — it was an announcement eight years in the waiting. But defeating Sen. Bernie Sanders proved to be more of a trial than most predicted, as he garnered support from young voters and grabbed the attention of the Democratic Party as a serious contender.

His loss turned focus to the Democratic National Committee, which was accused of swaying the primary election toward Clinton. A WikiLeaks release of some 20,000 DNC emails that revealed internal biases against Sanders fueled the fire, ultimately prompting DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation just one day before the convention’s kickoff.

In the end, Clinton, as expected, will attend the convention as the presumptive Democratic nominee, but the tone and platform of the DNC will likely reflect the influence of Sanders’s more left-leaning political views.

Watch: Bill Clinton makes the case for Hillary