Where and when is the convention?
The Democratic Convention will be held in Philadelphia from 25 – 28 July. There will probably be interesting goings-on on the 23rd and 24th in Philadelphia for those people who choose to come in early.
Which convention goes first and why?
The SOP is that the incumbent party goes second.
Which hotel should I stay at?
You’re likely too late to score a hotel room anywhere in Philadelphia or the near-in suburbs. Now is the time to call anyone you know in the area and ask them if you can couch surf at their house. I’d recommend going with people who are near train stations because parking is not going to be fun near the venues. This is a list of the hotels being utilized for delegates in case you want to try! You could also try going through your campaign as you may be able to score a room with a matching plan. (Both campaigns use these sites to get people into later states to work as volunteers during primary season, and you may be able to work something out with a local host.)
If I go to the convention will I get to watch the acceptance speech on Thursday night?
Maybe. To do this, you’ll need a pass. After the delegates, media and party regulars, the passes are few and far between. In Denver ’08 and Charlotte ’12, they were given by lottery to the volunteers.
What would I do as a volunteer?
Be on the street to help give directions to out-of-towners, help with crowd control, sign people in, and other “goodwill ambassador” duties. You can sign up here. You wouldn’t be able to just show up in July and be a volunteer, sign up now!
Why would I go to the convention if I can watch it on TV?
The only things that are televised are a few hours each night. There is a ton of stuff going on during the day. There are breakfasts and lunches put on by different groups, headed by famous people. There are classes and rallies throughout the day. In addition, being on the street exposes you to carts and mobile offices from all sorts of groups ranging from people selling tee shirts, buttons and other swag, as well as groups that provide all sorts of interesting information on their issues. You’ll find rallies for various groups all headlined by famous people. I guarantee if you come to Philly for the convention you’ll meet interesting people. One of the highlights for me was meeting Robert Gibbs on the street (everyone walks from place to place.) He took time to talk to me and let me take a picture. I also met several Congressmen and Congresswomen who were more than willing to have a conversation. Trust me, a political junkie’s dream.
Is it dangerous?
Security is TIGHT at conventions. That said, a fair share of idiots show up. For example, in Charlotte there were anti-choice protesters along the walking route to the Planned Parenthood rally. They yell and scream, and you just walk by them — no actual danger.
So there you have it, the most common questions on the convention. Please leave any other questions in the comments and you’ll get answers.